BAGHDAD // Market blasts and other bombings across Iraq killed at least 40 people yesterday, and one senior intelligence figure said he could not rule out that guards may have taken bribes to allow terrorists to penetrate security during a Shiite pilgrimage.
The latest attacks added to fears that Iraq is descending further into violence after the last United States troops withdrew late last year. More than 250 people have died in attacks over the past month, the bloodiest period since immediately after the US withdrawal.
Yesterday morning's wave of bombings struck four Iraqi cities. The worst hit was Diwaniyah, 130 kilometres south of Baghdad, where an explosives-laden vegetable lory was detonated in a crowded market, killing 25 people and wounding 40.
Vegetable seller Salah Abbas, 41, described a scene of chaos after the blast.
"There were many charred bodies on the ground," said Mr Abbas, who rushed to help wounded fellow merchants before ambulances arrived.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings. The blasts came on the heels of a particularly violent June, when attacks were focused on Shiite pilgrims, government officials and security forces.
* Associated Press