An Iraqi police officer watches cars at a checkpoint in Baghdad
An Iraqi police officer watches cars at a checkpoint in Baghdad, July 2011. Iraq executed 16 Al-Qaeda members convicted of involvement in the massacre of 70 people at a wedding, although they were officially put to death for other murders © Spencer Platt - AFP/Getty Images/File
An Iraqi police officer watches cars at a checkpoint in Baghdad
Last updated: November 24, 2011

Iraq executes 16 Qaeda members for murder

Three bombs exploded Thursday in the south Iraq port city of Basra, killing 19 people, including high-ranking army and police officers, and wounding at least 65, security and medical officials said.

A roadside bomb and a motorcycle bomb exploded simultaneously at about 6:40 pm (1540 GMT) in a market in central Basra, an interior ministry official said.

Following a common pattern in Iraq, a third roadside bomb went off as people gathered at the scene, according to the official, who put toll at 19 killed and 67 wounded.

An army brigade commander and a high-ranking police officer were among the dead, while police and soldiers were also wounded in the blasts, the official said.

Riyadh Abdelamir, the head of the Basra health directorate, said that 19 people were killed and 65 wounded in the blasts.

Army and police deployed in force following the blasts, cordoning off the market, an AFP correspondent said.

It was the deadliest day in Iraq since October 27, when two roadside bombs in Baghdad's Urr neighbourhood killed at least 32 people and wounded 71 others.

On November 2, three motorbike bombings in Basra killed at least nine people and wounded at least 37.

Violence has declined nationwide since its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common. A total of 258 people were killed in October, according to official figures.

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