BAGHDAD — A bomb in a parked car exploded near a market in a Shiite enclave northeast of the capital, killing at least 32 people and wounding 50, police said Wednesday. Hospital officials and some of the wounded said it appeared that chlorine gas was used in the attack, but police denied the reports.
The attack occurred about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday in the village of Abu Saydah in the volatile Diyala province, local police said, giving the casualty toll.
The wounded were taken to hospitals in nearby Muqdadiyah and the main Shiite district of Sadr City in Baghdad.
Hospital officials and victims said it appeared chlorine gas was used in the attack as many of the wounded were having difficulty breathing and had their sight affected. But officials at the provincial police’s joint coordination center denied that toxic gas was involved.
One man had a white cloth across his eyes as he lay in his hospital bed; others were bandaged from head to toe.
Abu Saydah is a mainly Shiite village about 25 miles northeast of the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Baqouba, the capital of the province that has seen a recent spike in violence largely blamed on militants who fled Baghdad ahead of a U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown.
Chlorine gas used?
Kadim Hussein, a 45-year-old farmer who was taken to the Imam Ali hospital in Sadr City, claimed the hospitals in Baqouba would only accept Sunnis.
“My eyes became puffy due to the chlorine gas that was packed in the car bomb,” he said, adding he also had difficulties breathing. “Also I had many pieces of shrapnel in my chest and right shoulder.”
A hospital official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the facility had received three bodies and 11 of those wounded who all showed symptoms of chlorine poisoning.
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