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Iraq Transition

Bomb causes carnage at Iraq market

Baghdad gunmen kill Russian diplomat, abduct 4 others
The remains of a motorcycle after the afternoon bomb attack in the market in Basra.



BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A bomb ripped through a packed market in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Saturday, killing at least 33 people, officials told CNN.

About 55 more people were wounded in the blast, which was detonated at about 5:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET) -- the market's busiest time -- a Basra police official said.

The attack came three days after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki declared a monthlong state of emergency for the oil-rich city, which is about 310 miles (500 kilometers) south of Baghdad. (Full story)

Earlier in the Iraqi capital, gunmen ambushed a car carrying five Russian diplomats.

One envoy was killed and four others kidnapped, Russian officials said. Russian Foreign Ministry official Alexei Sazonov, in a statement on Russian TV, said his country was trying to free the hostages.

"We are paying respects to the relatives of the killed colleague," he added.

The gunmen attacked the diplomats' car shortly before 3 p.m. (7 a.m. ET) in the upscale Mansour neighborhood in the west of the Iraqi capital, where the embassy is located.

It is unclear whether the assailants, who drove up in two cars, singled out the diplomats or whether the attack was random. The diplomats' ranks are also unknown.

'Questions, doubts' over exoneration

The U.S. military rushed to judgment in its exoneration of U.S. troops involved in the March 15 raid that killed 11 civilians in Ishaqi, an aide to al-Maliki said Saturday.

There are too many "questions and doubts" about the case, said Adnan al-Kadhimi, adding: "The Iraqi government should continue its own investigation until the truth can be found."

A government committee is investigating, and if wrongdoing is found, the committee will pursue an apology and compensation, al-Kadhimi said. This applies to other cases as well -- such as the allegation that Marines killed 24 civilians in Haditha, he added.

In addition, the government is developing a working agreement between the government and coalition forces to prevent other such incidents, he added.

In other developments:

  • Authorities found the heads of eight Sunni men on Saturday in a fruit box left near a highway in Ahdaid, just east of Baquba, police said. A leaflet found in the box identified one of the victims as a man who killed four Shiite doctors and a former government official, police said.
  • Separately, in Baquba -- a town northeast of Baghdad -- insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms attacked a police checkpoint, killing three police officers and wounding a dozen people shortly after noon, police said.
  • In Baghdad, 22 bodies were found in various neighborhoods Saturday, an official with Baghdad police headquarters told CNN. The unidentified bodies showed signs of torture with gunshot wounds to the head. No further details were available.
  • CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier remained in critical but stable condition Saturday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, according to her network, and was able to eat a small amount of solid food for the first time. She underwent an operation to begin repairing her legs on Friday, the network said. (More on condition)
  • CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq, John Vause and Chris Burns contributed to this report.

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