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65 killed in Baghdad varsity attack

Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Sixty-five people, including several women students and teachers, were killed and 110 injured on Tuesday in a devastating twin suicide bombing at the gates of a university in Baghdad, marking a surge in violence in the embattled city. The toll is likely to go up.

The attack was part of a string of deadly bombings in the city, where 95 people were killed and scores wounded. The bloodbath witnessed comes a day after two close associates of the former Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, were hanged.

The first attack was near the main gate of the Mustansiriya University where a car bomb exploded killing students awaiting buses to go home.

A second explosion followed after a suicide bomber on foot detonated his explosives near the second gate, where crowds fleeing the first blast had begun to gather.

More exodus likely

Analysts point out that the bombings outside the university are likely to accelerate the exodus of Iraqi intellectuals to neighbouring Arab countries.

They caused extensive devastation. The area was strewn with body parts, and wrecked vehicles were still smouldering hours after the attacks. The Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education has called for blood donations.

In other violence, two bombs ripped through the mainly Shia Bab Al-Sheik neighbourhood, killing 25 people. The attacks, threatening to heighten sectarian tensions, took place inside a used motorcycle market. The first explosion brought onlookers to the site, where a second blast followed within seconds, the Associated Press said. In another incident north of Baghdad, gunmen in vehicles opened fire on shoppers in the mixed Al-Bounuk area. At least 10 people died and seven others wounded during the strike.

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