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Iraq Transition

Vegetable truck explodes in Baghdad market, killing 25

Story Highlights

NEW: U.S. official accuses allies of falling short on reconstruction pledges
• NEW: Suicide bomber kills 1 in Baghdad's Dora district; 33 bodies found
• Market blast kills 25 people, wounds 60 others, Interior Ministry says
• College student death toll rises to 12 in two separate attacks
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A parked truck loaded with vegetables exploded in an outdoor market in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 25 people and wounding 60 others, the Interior Ministry said.

The attack, which rocked the city's Amil neighborhood around 11 a.m. (3 a.m. ET), crushed buildings and sparked fires, according to The Associated Press.

Men were seen carrying bodies from damaged buildings, AP reported, while residents rifled through rubble, frantically searching for survivors. (Watch smoke, fire and rescues immediately after the blast Video)

"There were four women around my stall when we heard a loud explosion, which threw me many meters away from my stall," said shopkeeper Fadhil Hussein, 32, according to AP. "I found myself in a pickup truck with other people. Some of them were bleeding and yelling."

About an hour before the Amil blast, gunmen killed a family of six near the city of Khalis, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Baghdad, police said.

According to an official with Baquba police, the gunmen stopped the family at a false police checkpoint before killing the father, mother and their four children.

Reconstruction deadbeats

Meanwhile, at an Iraq reconstruction hearing Tuesday in Washington, a U.S. official testified that some of the United States' closest allies were not making good on pledges of aid for Iraq.

Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that only the United Kingdom and Japan had fulfilled aid promises of aid made at a 2004 conference in Madrid.

"Other than those two, there has been limited forthcoming," Bowen said.

He said the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates had fallen far short, providing "on the ground in Iraq" only an estimated 10 percent of what had been promised.

Overall, some $14 billion was pledged, but only $3.5 billion has been delivered, Bowen said.

However, he added, exact figures are difficult to determine now that the Iraqi government has taken control of monitoring the international aid.

The revelations came after insistent questioning by Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos of California, who chairs the committee.

"We are not afraid to embarrass countries which made commitments at a public donors conference and failed to fulfill them," Lantos said.

At a conference on Iraq earlier this month in Egypt, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also reminded countries that had pledged money that the funds were needed now.

According to Bowen's testimony, Saudi Arabia had pledged $500 million; Kuwait, $500 million; and the United Arab Emirates, $215 million.

Many Arab countries have withheld their financial support because they don't feel that the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is doing enough to include Sunnis in political reconciliation.

College students killed

Also Tuesday, mortar fire killed four college students in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Adhamiya -- a volatile mostly Sunni district. Adhamiya has been the target of Shiite militias in the past.

Twenty-seven people were wounded in the attack, which struck al-Haitham College of Education, Baghdad police said.

One student told CNN that the Iraqi army occupied the college's computer department a few days ago and established a makeshift base.

"Of course, insurgents are going to attack this college again," the student said, adding that "there is no college in the world that has a military base on the premises."

A second deadly attack in the northern part of the capital also targeted college students. Gunmen opened fire on a minibus in the Waziriya district, killing eight students, police said. Three others were wounded in the attack, which took place at 2:45 p.m.

The gunmen, dressed as security forces, set up a false checkpoint and stopped the minibus, police said. The killers asked the students a few questions, then shot them, police said. Security forces quickly launched a hunt for the gunmen.

Police didn't say whether the students were Shiite or Sunni Muslims or what college they attended. The minibus was headed to the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City, police said.

Other developments

  • In Dora, in southern Baghdad on Tuesday, a suicide bomber struck an Iraqi National Police checkpoint, killing one person and wounding three others, police told CNN.
  • An Interior Ministry official said 33 unidentified bodies were found in different parts of Baghdad on Tuesday, bringing the total so far this month to 495.
  • In restive Anbar province, coalition forces killed nine "terrorists" and freed 12 captives Tuesday during an operation northeast of Karma, the U.S. military said. The raid targeted buildings being used for kidnappings and killings, the military said.
  • Also, Anbar was one of three places where U.S. coalition forces reported military arrests Tuesday of suspected terrorists, a military statement said. The others were the city of Mosul and in Baghdad. Forces netted a total of 15 suspected terrorists, the statement said, targeting members of the al Qaeda network.
  • Iraq's military is drawing up plans to cope with any quick U.S. military pullout, the defense minister said, as a senior American official warned that the Bush administration may reconsider its support if Iraqi leaders do not make major reforms by fall. (Full story)
  • U.S. troops on Monday focused their intense search for three missing comrades to a nine-mile (15-kilometer) radius around the site of the deadly May 12 ambush from where the soldiers were taken. An official told CNN that military commanders assume at least two of the missing soldiers are alive and being held by an al Qaeda-affiliated group. (Interactive: Details about ambushed soldiers)
  • Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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