Blast kills nine in Iraqi capital

BAGHDAD — A powerful blast Monday tore through a house on the western outskirts of Baghdad, killing nine people and wounding at least eight others, the second attack in that region this month, doctors and police said.

The bombing came as Baghdad bristled with security measures for the arrival of Turkey's president, the first visit by a Turkish head of state in 30 years. Police said the blast in Haswa, 15 miles east of Fallujah, targeted Emad and Ayad al-Halbousi, brothers who had served as leaders of Sahwa, Arabic for Awakening, a tribal gathering that helped defeat insurgents in Sunni regions with U.S. support.

The family of Ayad al-Halbousi discovered an explosive planted outside the house, said Mohammed al-Zawbae, a major with the police in Haswa. They alerted police, who came to disarm it. As the family and neighbors waited outside in the street, another explosive tore through the house before noon, he said.

Nine people were killed, said Khalil al-Dulaimi, a doctor at Abu Ghraib Hospital. Both brothers were killed, along with three of their children, he said.

"We were at home when the police came and asked us to evacuate it to dismantle the explosives," said Latifa Annad, a 50-year-old neighbor who had taken her children to a relative's house, down the street. "Then the explosion happened. I was wounded by flying glass." She said she lost her hearing in the blast.

On March 10, a suicide bomber killed at least 28 people in Abu Ghraib, a still-dangerous stretch of territory near Baghdad. The bomb there targeted tribal leaders and security officials who had gathered for a reconciliation conference.

Police in Abu Ghraib have warned that the release of scores of prisoners from the U.S.-run facility in Camp Bucca in southern Iraq has made the region west of Baghdad more dangerous. They point to their arrests and the confiscation of insurgent leaflets warning Sahwa leaders to rejoin the insurgency or face retaliation.

Also Monday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul was welcomed at Baghdad International Airport by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and other officials. He was to hold talks with President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during the visit.

A special correspondent in Abu Ghraib contributed to this report.

Share This Story