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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bomb blast in Ramadi Iraq : Qassim Mohammed killed

Deadly bomb blast in western Iraqi city of Ramadi.

Bomb blast in Ramadi

December 30 2009 : 10 people killed in two bomb explosions in the central Iraqi city of Ramadi including Qassim Mohammed, the governor of Anbar province.

Up to 30 may have died in the attacks, which struck in quick succession in the same street in the provincial capital. Governor Qassim Mohammed was reported killed, although his deputy said he had only been wounded. Analysts have blamed recent attacks in Iraq on al-Qaeda trying to destabilise the country ahead of March elections.

Another 35 people were injured in the blasts on Wednesday. Police said the attacks took place in quick succession in Ramadi's downtown area and that many of the wounded were from Iraqi security forces.

The first attack at around 9:30am (06:30 GMT) at a traffic junction in the centre of the Anbar provincial capital. A separate bombing 30 minutes later at the entrance to the nearby provincial council offices.

It was in this bombing that Qassim Mohammed was injured as he came out of his office to inspect the damage, a source at the Ramadi hospital was reported as saying. State television briefly reported that the governor had been killed in the blast, but those reports were quickly denied by Hikmet Khalaf, his deputy.

Ahmed Rushdi, an independent journalist in Baghdad, told Al Jazeera: "There is now a curfew inside Anbar - [the roads] are only for police cars and ambulances. All the members of the council and the governorate have mild injures."

Anbar province was the heart of Iraq's Sunni uprising following the US-led invasion of Iraqi in 2003 but it became relatively secure after local tribal leaders began to support grassroots guard units in 2006.

But a spate of recent attacks has raised fears that violence will increase ahead of Iraq's general elections in March 2010.

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