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Updated: January 25, 2010 21:46 IST

Blasts as Chemical Ali is executed

Atul Aneja
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In this undated image provided by the U.S. Army, Ali Hassan al-Majid, the former high-ranking Iraqi official known as
In this undated image provided by the U.S. Army, Ali Hassan al-Majid, the former high-ranking Iraqi official known as "Chemical Ali'', is shown as he appears on the deck of cards given to U.S. soldiers by U.S. Central Command. Iraq's government spokesman on Monday reported that Ali Hassan al-Majid had been executed. Photo: AP.

At least 16 people have been killed and 20 injured after serial blasts rocked three prominent hotels, of which two were popular among foreigners.

The first explosion struck the Sheraton hotel, located near the Tigris river, not far from the high security Green Zone. Two other bombs went off near the Babylon Hotel and Al-Hamra Hotel, popular among journalists, said Iraqi police.

The Reuters news agency said its offices inside the Sheraton were covered in dust after the bombing sent shockwaves which blew up doors of the hotel. Three employees of The Washington Post were injured - one with broken ribs and two with head injuries after the explosion damaged the house inside the Al Hamra hotel compound, where the Post’s office is located. The windows of the house were shattered in the blast, and much of the bureau is in tatters, the daily reported on its website.

The bombings coincide with the execution of Ali Hassan al-Majid, widely known as “Chemical Ali.” Iraq’s government spokesman said that Al-Majid was hanged after being sentenced to death last week for the poison gas attacks in 1988, which killed more than 5,000 Kurds. It was not yet clear whether the three suicide car bombings and the execution were linked.

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