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36 dead, 50 hurt in suicide attack at funeral

5 troops die; 13 Iraqis killed in a car blast

BAGHDAD -- A suicide attacker killed at least 36 people and wounded 50 more in a Shi'ite funeral procession yesterday north of Baghdad, while a car bomb near a market outside the capital killed 13 and wounded 21, police said.

The US military also said five soldiers were killed yesterday and five were wounded in roadside bombings in northern Iraq. The soldiers were assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and were on patrol near Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad, the statement said.

A day earlier, a soldier from the 101st Airborne whose vehicle was rammed by a car Thursday near Beiji died of his injuries at a German hospital, the military said.

The funeral was attacked at sunset while dozens of people were offering condolences to Raad Majid, the head of the municipal council in Abu Saida, for the death of his uncle, police officials said. Abu Saida is near Baqubah, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

The suicide attacker drove his car into the gathering and detonated the bomb, the command center said. Ambulances and police rushed from Baqubah, as well as other nearby towns, to help in the rescue operations.

Late yesterday, the provincial police command reported that 36 people were dead and 50 were injured in the attack.

The market explosion occurred earlier near the Diyala Bridge area southeast of Baghdad as dozens of people shopped, police Colonel Nouri Ashour said. The dead included five women.

Iraqi police and US soldiers surrounded a house in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.

They had received reports that members of Al Qaeda in Iraq were inside, said a police spokesman Brigadier Said Ahmed al-Jubouri.

Almost immediately, a fierce firefight broke out, and three insurgents detonated explosives and killed themselves. Five more died fighting, while four police officers also were killed, he said.

Yesterday's bombings occurred a day after two bombers went into the Sheik Murad mosque and the Grand Mosque in the border town of Khanaqin during noon prayers and detonated explosives strapped to their bodies, survivors said.

Reported death tolls ranged from 76, a figure provided by Kurdish officials, to at least 100, a number released by police.

Hospital officials said Friday that 74 people had been killed and more than 100 had been wounded in the largely Kurdish town, which is about 90 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Such suicide attacks frequently are attributed to Al Qaeda in Iraq, a fundamentalist Sunni Islamic group. The group's leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has advocated attacks in the past against Shi'ites, whom he considers apostates.

It was the deadliest attack since Sept. 29, when three suicide car bombers struck in the mostly Shi'ite town of Balad north of Baghdad, killing at least 99 people. A security officer in Khanaqin, who asked not to be identified because of the nature of his job, said four people were arrested after the blasts -- three were strangers from outside the town and the fourth was a third suicide bomber detained near the scene.

Khanaqin police had received information from authorities in nearby Baqubah about a possible suicide bomber in the town.

But the information was received just minutes before the attacks, he added.

The blast ripped down part of the roof of the Grand Mosque and heavily damaged the other. At sunset, dozens of people were still searching the rubble for missing family members and friends. Others collected copies of the Koran.

One survivor, Omar Saleh, said he was on his knees bowing in prayer when the bomb exploded.

''The roof fell on us and the place was filled with dead bodies," Saleh, 73, said from his hospital bed near the attack site.

US soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division sent medical specialists and supplies to the town, about 6 miles from the Iranian border.

The suicide attack came just hours after two car bombs exploded outside the Hamra hotel Friday in the second strike against a compound housing Western journalists in the Iraqi capital in less than a month.

The hotel bombings began at 8:12 a.m. when a white van exploded along the concrete blast wall protecting the compound, blowing a hole in the barrier. Less than a minute later, a water tanker packed with explosives plowed through the breach in an apparent bid to reach the hotel buildings.

But the driver -- apparently blocked by smoke and debris -- detonated his vehicle just inside the barrier, destroying several nearby homes and blowing out hotel windows. Eight Iraqis were killed and at least 43 people were injured, officials said.

The tactics in the Hamra attack were similar to those employed in the Oct. 24 triple-vehicle assault on the Palestine Hotel, where journalists from the Associated Press, Fox News, and other organizations live and work.

The latest attacks brought to at least 1,645 the number of Iraqis killed since the Shi'ite-led government took power April 28, according to a count conducted by the Associated Press.

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