- Title: IRAQ: Power generator explosion at a busy market in Basra kills dozens
- Date: 9th August 2010
- Summary: BASRA, IRAQ (AUGUST 8, 2010) (REUTERS) BURNT-OUT AND DAMAGED SHOPS AT MARKETPLACE WHERE BLAST TOOK PLACE WRECKAGE OF MARKET STALLS AND BICYCLES IN FRONT OF SHOPS GUTTED SHOP AND RUBBLE HEAPS OF TWISTED METAL OF MARKET STALLS ON BOTH SIDES OF MARKET VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN MARKETPLACE WITH WATER PUDDLES AND LITTERED WITH DEBRIS AMBULANCE ARRIVING AT HOSPITAL SIGN READING: "BASRA HEALTH DEPARTMENT, BASRA MORGUE" FAMILY MEMBERS WAITING OUTSIDE HOSPITAL PEOPLE WAITING NEAR CAR WITH WOODEN COFFIN ON TOP CRYING MEN WALKING OUT OF MORGUE MEN SITTING WEEPING OUTSIDE BASRA MORGUE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ALI ABDULAMEER, RELATIVE OF ONE OF THE DEAD, SAYING: "We have not found the body yet because dead bodies were removed by shovels yesterday. The (police) commander said the blast was caused by a malfunctioning generator. Who can believe this? (INAUDIBLE QUESTION) We blame the government (for the blast). People still can not find the bodies of their dead relatives and I am one of them. I could not find the body of my nephew. His body was lost. They were removed by shovels yesterday, all the cars damaged by the blast were removed by shovels. Two families quarrelled over one body, with each family saying that it's theirs. We blame (Prime Minister Nuri) Al-Maliki and Iyad Allawi." FAMILY MEMBERS WAITING OUTSIDE HOSPITAL
- Embargoed: 24th August 2010 09:41
- Location: Iraq
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Industry
- Reuters ID: LVACL8QV38RCLJESZ2VXPJMBZB3P
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: The explosion of a power generator, possibly triggered by a bomb, at a busy market in Iraq's southern oil hub Basra on Saturday (August 7) killed more than 40 people and wounded over one hundred, health officials said.
Stunned family members on Sunday (August 8) rushed to the city's main morgue to identify and retrieve bodies of their relatives who were killed in Saturday night's explosion.
The head of the city's Health Department, Riyadh Abdulameer, said 43 people were killed and 185 others were wounded in the blast in the central al-Ashaar market in one of Iraq's largest cities.
Witnesses reported that two or three explosions struck the popular market in the centre of Basra and two security sources said at least one of the blasts was the detonation of a car bomb. But Basra Police Chief Adil Daham told al-Hurra television the explosion was caused by a malfunctioning generator.
Family members waited outside the hospital, shocked by what had happened and said they could not identify their relatives because most of the bodies were charred beyond recognition.
A relative of one of the dead blamed politicians, who have failed in their attempts to form a government in the five months since the inconclusive March 7 election.
"We blame the government (for the blast). People still can not find the bodies of their dead relatives and I am one of them. I could not find the body of my nephew. His body was lost. They were removed by shovels yesterday, all the cars damaged by blast were removed by shovels. Two families quarrelled over one body with each family saying that it's theirs. We blame (Prime Minister Nuri) Al-Maliki and Iyad Allawi," said Ali Abdulameer, as he waited with others outside the morgue.
Oil-rich Iraq has remained in a political void since the inconclusive March 7 election while Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish political factions try to sort out a coalition government.
Politicians and security officials say insurgents appear to be trying to take advantage of the power vacuum.
Overall violence has ebbed since the peak of sectarian warfare in 2006/07 but bombings and suicide attacks still occur regularly.
Iraq has the world's third-largest oil reserves and many of its oilfields are located around Basra.
More than a dozen people were killed in other attacks across Iraq on Saturday, including four policemen in clashes with gunmen in Baghdad during a raid on a house where car bombs were being made. In the northern city of Mosul a suicide bomber killed a policeman and wounded six other people.
Nearly 400 civilians were killed in bombings and other attacks in July, almost double the June toll, Iraqi authorities say.
Tens of thousands of people were killed during the height of Iraq's sectarian slaughter in 2006-07.
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