At least 43 dead after Basra blast

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The Independent Online

The death toll from an explosion in Iraq's second-largest city has risen from 20 to 43, health officials revealed today.

Basra health department spokesman Dr Salah Abid confirmed the new casualty count following the explosion late on Saturday.

An official in the Basra morgue also put the number of bodies - some of which were badly burned - at 43.

The scores of wounded people were taken to at least four hospitals in Basra.

It is still not clear what caused the explosion. Officials differ on whether it was a pair of bombs or a malfunctioning power generator.

Basra is 340 miles south-east of Baghdad.