At least 26 killed in blast outside Tel Afar
MOSUL, Iraq — A truck bomb killed at least 26 people and injured another 48 on Monday morning, hitting a rural Iraqi town near the northern city of Tal Afar, according to U.S. military and Iraqi police officials.
The attack left a crater 30 feet wide and 10 feet deep, according to a U.S. Army spokesman based in the city of Mosul, 45 miles east of Tal Afar.
“We are still tracking that it happened at the village of Qubuq,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Sipp, with the 1st Cavalry Division’s 4th Brigade, in an e-mail message to Stars and Stripes.
The brigade is the U.S. unit charged with security duties for the entire province.
At 11 a.m., Sipp said, “the unconfirmed count of casualties is 26 local Iraqis [killed in action] and 48 local Iraqis [wounded in action],” he continued.
Later Monday afternoon, the U.S. military command in Baghdad issued a statement condemning the bombing.
“We share the outrage of the Iraqi people and we denounce the brutal enemy responsible for this attack and his wanton disregard of innocent human life,” the message read in part. “This indiscriminate violence, meant to reverse progress and turn Iraqis against one another, again shows the nature of this barbaric enemy.”
Sipp said Qubuq is roughly nine miles north of Tal Afar and seven to 10 homes were destroyed. Two other U.S. Army battalions were also in the area to assist with the situation.
The Associated Press reported a driver crashed the vehicle into a densely populated Shiite Muslim area of the city and 28 people were confirmed dead, including 19 children. The report cited area Iraqi police commander Brig. Gen. Rahim al-Jibouri.
The attacker drove a dump truck filled with explosives and covered with a layer of gravel, Iraqi Brig. Gen. Najim Abdullah said. Authorities imposed a curfew on the city, according to resident Sheik Mohammed Qassim, 52.
The attack is the worst in the immediate area of Tal Afar since since a March 27 truck bombing that killed 152 people.
On July 26 in Tal Abatha, roughly 50 miles southwest of Mosul, eight people — including five Iraqi policemen — were killed and 25 others injured in twin car bombings.
U.S. and Iraqi officials have recently touted the stabilization in the north, with a visit by Rear Adm. Mark Fox, communications division chief for Multi-National Forces — Iraq, culminating last week in Mosul.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.