Baghdad: A car bomb exploded Thursday in a crowded cattle market south of Baghdad, killing at least 10 people and injuring 45 others, Iraqi police and medical officials said.
The parked car exploded at the height of the morning buying and selling at the market on the outskirts of Hillah, 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Baghdad, said Iraqi police Major Muthana Khalid. A witness said the blast scattered bodies and animal carcasses throughout the market.
While violence has declined dramatically in Iraq during the past 18 months, there are growing concerns about a possible upward trend in bloodshed after a series of high-profile attacks on civilians and US and Iraqi security forces in recent weeks.
All of the dead and injured in Thursday’s bombing were civilians, Khalid said. Dr. Hussam al-Janabi, a medical official in Hillah, confirmed the casualty figures.
Markets, mosques and religious shrines have been a favorite target of insurgents in Iraq because of the possibility of high casualty counts.
Dozens of cattle merchants, farmers, butchers and buyers were at the market in Hamza al-Gharbi, a mostly Shiite community a short distance from Hillah, when the bomb exploded.
The market operates daily but is at its busiest on Thursday and Friday, said cattle merchant Rajab Abdul-Hussein.
Witnesses told police the blast came from a car parked near the market’s main thoroughfare.
In Baghdad, gunmen ambushed an Interior Ministry official on his way to work, said an Iraqi police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information.