68 Iraqis killed, 56 hurt by Baqouba suicide bombing Weds. - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

68 Iraqis killed, 56 hurt by Baqouba suicide bombing Weds.

(Baqouba, Iraq-AP) July 28, 2004 - A tangle of twisted metal and bodies lies outside a police recruiting center in Baqouba, a bloody reminder of Iraq's instability one month to the day after the US transferred power. It's the deadliest bombing in Iraq since the poer transfer.

Charred vehicles, broken glass and abandoned shoes are all stained red from the blood of 68 dead Iraqis, victims of Wednesday morning's suicide car bomb. The toll includes 21 people killed on a passing commuter bus. A US military spokesman says all the dead were civilians. Bodies are scattered over a swath of the normally bustling heart of Baqouba, 35 miles from Baghdad. Many of the 56 injured have swarmed a local hospital.

One angry witness pounded his head in grief, shouting "These were all innocent Iraqis, there were no Americans."

Fighters in Baquoba have routinely targeted Iraqi police forces. Iraq's deputy foreign minister tells the BBC that the country is facing "people who are fanatic," directing violence to the Iraqi people rather than to the foreign troops.

Secretary of State Colin Powell calls the bombing another "attempt by murderers to deny the Iraqi people their dream of a peaceful country."

Meanwhile, the US military says a soldier has died and three others were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a patrol in northern Iraq. The First Infantry Division soldiers were in an armored Humvee when the bomb detonated Tuesday night about 40 miles northwest of Baghdad.

The force of the blast severely damaged the vehicle, killing one soldier. A spokesman says the three injured soldiers were hospitalized in stable condition.

The soldier's death raises the toll of US military personnel killed in Iraq to 905 since the war began, according to an Associated Press tally.

updated 2:39pm by Chris Rees

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