20 killed in Baghdad bus station bomb blast

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The Independent Online

At least 20 people were killed today when a car bomb exploded during rush hour in a busy Baghdad bus station, Iraqi police said.

The blast went off at about 8.15am local time at a bus station in Baghdad's Baiyaa neighbourhood. At least 40 minibuses were incinerated in the explosion, a police spokesman said.

Many of the victims had been lining up for buses at the station.

About 15 minutes later, three mortar rounds slammed into a popular shopping district in central Baghdad, killing three pedestrians.

The attack damaged shops in the Shorja market area and wounded 14 people.

It was unclear whether the mortars were aimed at the shopping area, or whether they fell short of an intended target.

In recent months, tall security barriers have been built around Shorja and other popular marketplaces, preventing car bombers from entering. However, mortars can be targeted over such blast walls.

In Nasiriyah, about 200 miles south-east of Baghdad, local police said two suspected militants were killed early today when the bomb they were planting near a house of a US translator detonated prematurely.