Death toll in Musayyib, Iraq fuel tanker blast rises to 98

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The death toll from a suicide bomb attack in Musayyib, Iraq has risen to 98. A suicide bomber attacked a fuel truck arriving at the gas station in the Iraqi town overnight on July 16, running up to the truck and detonating his explosives. The huge blast which followed killed many locals at a crowded vegetable market near the local Shi'ite mosque.

Early reports put the number of dead at between 50-60, but this has risen as the full scale of the carnage has become apparent. Hospital sources said they were treating 75 wounded, including 19 in a serious condition. The attack in Musayyib was the deadliest suicide attack since 125 people were killed in February in nearby Al Hilla.

'This is a black day in the history of the town,' the Musayyib police chief, Yas Khudayr, said.

Musayyib lies south of Baghdad, in the center of a dangerous area known as the 'triangle of death', where patrolling US forces are subject to constant attack from Iraqi resistance forces.

Angry crowds protested on Sunday against the local authorities, which they blamed for not doing enough to prevent the attack. According to one protester, police had placed a ban on trucks entering the town, but had allowed the fuel tanker through.

During a parliamentary session in Baghdad, the government was blamed by politicians for the dire security situation. Calls were made for local militia to be formed to replace the police and soldiers who had failed to protect Iraqis.