BAGHDAD (AP) — A truck bomb tore through an outdoor vegetable market on Thursday in northeastern Iraq, killing at least 31 people, officials said.
The explosion in the town of al-Saadiyah, some 140 kilometers (90 miles) northeast of Baghdad, is the latest in a wave of attacks that has swept across Iraq since April, pushing violence to levels unseen since the country teetered on the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.
The violence in the past eight months has killed more than 5,500, according to the United Nations. Thursday's explosion brings the death toll across the country this month to 275, according to an Associated Press count.
Two police officers said witnesses told them that a man parked the truck containing the bomb in the market and asked workers to unload the vegetables before leaving the vehicle. The officers said at least 45 people were also wounded in the attack.
Two medical officials confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information to the media.
The bombing came a day after a series of coordinated explosions hit mainly Shiite commercial areas in Baghdad and outside the capital, killing at least 35 people and wounding 120.
Last Thursday, a suicide bomber struck a group of Shiites gathered in al-Saadiyah town to commemorate the 7th century death of a revered Shiite shrine. That attack killed at least 32 people and wounded 75.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but suicide attacks and large-scale bombings — especially against security forces or crowded markets in Shiite areas — are a favorite tactic of al-Qaida's local branch and Sunni insurgents. Sunni extremists who see Shiites as unbelievers.