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19 KILLED IN MOSUL BLAST

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A lorry packed with explosives has been detonated, on Wednesday 09/09/2009 midnight, in a Kurdish village 50 km East of Mosul, Wardek, in northern Iraq, killing at least 19 people, Iraqi police say. Around 30 other people, including women and children were injured in the blast. A second lorry bomb in the village failed to detonate (see also – Mosul 08.10.09 ).

A number of homes were destroyed and police fear the death toll will rise as a search of the rubble is carried out.

The driver was killed after local Kurdish Peshmerga militia opened fire on the lorry on the edge of Wardek, police said.

It is the latest in a series of attacks on ethnically-mixed villages in northern Iraq. A similar bombing in another village last month left 28 dead (see – Mosul 08.13.09).

US and Iraqi officials say Al Qaeda insurgents have regrouped in the city after being driven out of neighboring Anbar province, and are believed to want to provoke ethnic tension and violence.

The city is also characterized by communal strife between Kurds and Arabs and violence targeting religious minorities.

In late 2008, the UN refugee agency reported that 13,000 Christians had been driven out of the city by violence and intimidation (see – PERSECUTIONS).

American, Iraqi and Kurdish officials are currently discussing plans to reinforce security in the region.
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