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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More dead in Iraq

Bombings Kill 60 at University In Baghdad
34,452 Iraqi Civilians Died Violently in '06, U.N. Says

By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, January 17, 2007; Page A01

BAGHDAD, Jan. 16 -- The coordinated detonation of two bombs during the after-school rush at a Baghdad university killed at least 60 people Tuesday and wounded more than 140 in what university officials described as one of the deadliest attacks on academia since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The spate of killings, which also included a bombing outside a Sunni Muslim shrine in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood of central Baghdad, made plain the difficulties facing U.S. and Iraqi troops poised for their latest effort to tamp down rampant violence in the capital. It coincided with a report from the United Nations that said 34,452 Iraqi civilians died violently last year -- an average of 94 per day -- an estimate nearly triple the death toll provided by three Iraqi government ministries.

Gianni Magazzeni, chief of the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, said the killings were driven by strife between Sunni and Shiite militants. "Without significant progress in the rule of law, sectarian violence will continue indefinitely and eventually spiral out of control," he said.

News agencies reported that at least 30 other people died violently in Iraq on Tuesday, bringing the day's total to about 100.

At Mustansiriya University, sophomore Dyana Ayad had finished her Arabic elocution test, then walked through the college gardens, turned right toward a pedestrian overpass and joined the crowd of students waiting for buses. The pressure filled her ears a split second before she heard the sound of a bomb.

"I saw unbelievable things," the 20-year-old recalled Tuesday night. "There were tiny pieces of papers, burned papers everywhere. And dark smoke, white smoke. . . . I saw arms, legs, body parts flying in the air. The sky was raining burning paper and body parts."

Firefighters and police sped to the scene of the wreckage, near Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, doused the flaming cars and buses, and ferried bloodied students to hospitals throughout the city. Students ran in panic to find their friends, witnesses said, picking through what one student called "pieces of meat."

The university's assistant president, Fadhil al-Amri, found a human head on the ground outside his office, next to a severed hand.

posted by Steve @ 12:07:00 AM

12:07:00 AM

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