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Sunni Group Claims Baghdad Blast

(RFE/RL) September 23, 2006 -- An Iraqi Sunni militant group has claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that killed more than 20 people and injured some 30 others in a predominantly Shi'ite neighbourhood of Baghdad today.

Jamaat Jund al-Sahaba (Soldiers of the Prophet's Companions) said in a statement posted on the Internet that the bombing was in retaliation for the "crimes" of the Imam Al-Mahdi Army, a Shi'ite militia loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The authenticity of the statement could not be immediately confirmed.

The blast today occurred in Al-Sadr City, a sprawling Shi'ite slum, which is home to more than 2 million
people and is a stronghold of the Al-Mahdi Army.

Jamaat Jund al-Sahaba has claimed responsibility for earlier attacks against Shi'a.

Police spokesman Colonel Sa'd Abd al-Sada said the bomb was hidden in a small barrel near a kerosene tanker where scores of people were waiting to purchase fuel. He said that when the bomb went off, it exploded the kerosene tanker.

(AP, Reuters, dpa)

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