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Iraq's Tal Afar, Civilian Death Tolls Up

April 1, 2007 -- The Iraqi government has raised the death toll from a truck bomb attack in the town of Tal Afar on March 27 to 152 -- making it the deadliest single bombing of the four-year-old war.

An Interior Ministry spokesman, Abd al-Karim Khalaf, said the number of dead nearly doubled earlier estimates as more bodies were recovered from the rubble of destroyed buildings.

The attack, which targeted a Shi'ite area, has been blamed on Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Civilian Deaths Up

Iraq-wide, the death toll among civilians for March was at least 13 percent higher than the toll for the previous month with nearly 1,9000 civilians killed, according to news reports.

Much of the violence has been outside the capital, Baghdad, where a security crackdown was launched six weeks ago to reduce sectarian violence.

Suspected Militants Detained

Elsewhere, the U.S. military says U.S. and Iraqi troops have detained two suspected militants in a raid in Baghdad's main Shi'ite district.

Ground forces met resistance during a March 31 raid in Sadr City, but the enemy fire was suppressed by air strikes, which lightly damaged a building.

The military says no one was injured. Sadr City is a stronghold of the Imam Al-Mahdi Army militia loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Deadly Truck Bombing

East of the northern city of Mosul, two suicide truck bombs killed two people and wounded 17 today when they exploded at an Iraqi army base in the Sinaea area.

Police said the two dead were civilians, while most of the wounded were soldiers.

(AP, AFP, Reuters)

Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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