21 killed in Iraq blasts

21 killed in Iraq blasts

Explosions in central Iraq have killed 21 people and wounded 48 including the governor of Anbar province, police said today.

Police official Lt Col Imad al-Fahdawi said two bombs exploded today in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad. He said Qassim Mohammed was inspecting the damage from the first bomb when he was caught in the blast of the second.

Doctor Ahmed Abid Mohammed confirmed the casualties and the injuries to the governor.

There are 18 provincial governors in Iraq. Anbar is strategically important because it was a former stronghold of the al Qaida linked insurgency before the US military began paying fighters to participate in the pro-government Sons of Iraq programme, also known as the Awakening Council.

Mr al-Fahdawi said a suicide bomber in a car caused the first blast on the main road near the provincial administration buildings.

As the damage was being inspected a suicide bomber on foot detonated a vest full of explosives nearby.

The deputy police chief was killed and the governor and other officials wounded, Mr al-Fahdawi said. Police have put a curfew in place, he added.

US military spokesman Lt Col. Curtis Hill said: “The leadership in the province have requested support from US forces in response to the attacks near the provincial government centre in Ramadi.”

He said American forces were helping evacuate casualties, establish security and forensic investigation.

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