Image: Policeman inspects  vehicle used in car bomb attack.
A policeman inspects the wreckage of a vehicle used in a car bomb attack in Hamza, 80 miles south of Baghdad, on Thursday.
updated 3/5/2009 5:47:06 AM ET 2009-03-05T10:47:06

A car bomb exploded Thursday in a crowded cattle market south of Baghdad, killing at least 10 people and injuring 60 others, Iraqi police and medical officials said.

The parked car exploded at the height of the morning buying and selling at the market on the outskirts of Hillah, 60 miles south of Baghdad, said Iraqi police Maj. Muthana Khalid. The blast scattered bodies and animal carcasses throughout the market, a witness said.

While violence has declined dramatically in Iraq during the past 18 months, there are growing concerns about a possible upward trend in bloodshed after a series of high-profile attacks on civilians and U.S. and Iraqi security forces in recent weeks.

All the dead and injured in Thursday's bombing were civilians, Khalid said. Dr. Hussam al-Janabi, a medical official in Hillah, confirmed the casualty figures. The U.S. military in a statement put the casualty toll at 10 dead and 56 wounded.

Markets, mosques and religious shrines have been a favorite target of insurgents in Iraq because of the possibility of high casualty counts.

Farmers and butchers
Dozens of cattle merchants, farmers, butchers and buyers were at the market in Hamza al-Gharbi, a mostly Shiite community a short distance from Hillah, when the bomb exploded.

The market operates daily but is at its busiest on Thursday and Friday, said cattle merchant Rajab Abdul-Hussein.

Mohammed Abbas, a butcher, described a grisly scene of bodies and animal carcasses strewn throughout the market in the aftermath of the bombing.

"Blood and meat were everywhere," Abbas said.

Witnesses told police the blast came from a car parked near the market's main thoroughfare.

Site of many deadly attacks
The Hillah area has been the site of many deadly bombings, including one of the worst attacks in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. In February 2005, a suicide car bomber killed 125 national guard and police recruits in Hillah.

In March 2007, two suicide bombers struck a crowd of Shiite pilgrims, killing 120. And in February that year, suicide bombers struck a market, killing 73.

In Baghdad Thursday, gunmen ambushed an Interior Ministry official on his way to work, said an Iraqi police official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information.

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Video: Bombing in Iraq market kills 10


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