Iraq: 33 killed in fiery day across Iraq

August 27, 2011 - 6:10 PM

BAGHDAD (AP) — Bombs in Baghdad killed six people Saturday night, capping a deadly day in which at least 33 people died across Iraq, officials said.

Late Saturday night, a bomb hidden in a bicycle outside a Sunni mosque killed three worshippers and wounded eight others leaving evening prayers at the Omer Bin Abdul Aziz mosque just north of Baghdad, police said.

A half hour later, three policemen died nearby while responding to an explosion under a bridge in the predominantly Christian al-Ghadeer neighborhood in the capital's east, officials said. A second bomb killed them. Eight people were wounded in the blasts.

The casualties were confirmed by Baghdad hospital officials, but all spoke under condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Also, Iraqi security official said two explosions in the northern city of Mosul wounded 15 people, including nine Iraqi soldiers and policemen.

Violence has dropped in Iraq since the period a few years ago when the county was in the brink of civil war, but deadly bombings and shootings still occur every day, just months before the scheduled pullout of U.S. forces at the end of the year.

The deadliest incident in Iraq on Saturday, however, was a traffic accident.

A bus carrying vacationing families through northern Iraq collided head-on with a car and burst into flames, killing all 24 people trapped on the bus and three people in the car, police said.

Kirkuk Traffic Police Director Brig. Gen. Sallar Fiqih said the bus was carrying vacationing families with children from Baghdad to the northern city of Irbil. It caught fire, trapping passengers inside, after it collided with the car on a narrow two-lane road about 18 miles (30 kilometers) northwest of the city of Kirkuk.

None of the 23 passengers or the driver aboard the bus survived, Fiqih said.

"When I opened the door of the bus, I saw a horrific scene of totally burned bodies, including four children," said traffic policeman Asso Ahmed, one of the first officials on the scene.

Three in the oncoming car, including its driver, also were killed, Fiqih said. Three other passengers in the car were injured.

Fiqih said the bus passed through at least one security checkpoint near Kirkuk, where the driver told guards he was headed to Irbil and showed identification that he was from Baghdad. The bus was filled with blankets and tea thermoses, and Fiqih said it appeared its passengers were on vacation. No militant involvement was suspected.

Kirkuk is located about 180 miles (300 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

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Associated Press Writers Bushra Juhi and Lara Jakes in Baghdad and Yahya Barzanji in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq, contributed to this report.