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Truck Bomb Kills At Least 50 In Northern Iraq

Men search through the wreckage in Kirkuk.

Men search through the wreckage in Kirkuk.

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) -- A suicide truck bomber has killed at least 50 people near a Shi'ite Muslim mosque close to Kirkuk in northern Iraq, police said.

About 175 people were also wounded by the explosion, which a police source said had flattened some 25 homes in the area. Women and children were among the dead.

There was chaos at Kirkuk's main Azadi Hospital, where ambulance sirens wailed as workers rushed blood-splattered civilians, including several children, into the wards.

Outside, security officials brandished assault rifles to stop traffic as pick-up trucks raced through the gates carrying more victims of the blast at the Al-Rasul Mosque.

Violence has dropped sharply across Iraq in the past year. But insurgents including Sunni Islamist Al-Qaeda still launch deadly attacks on U.S. forces, Iraqi police, and civilians in a bid to trigger renewed sectarian bloodshed and undermine Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government.