REPORTING FROM BAGHDAD -- Three bomb blasts tore through a major wholesale market in Baghdad on Sunday afternoon, killing 10 people, according to police and medical personnel.
The bombings came as shoppers were crowding the Shurja market on the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.
A fire broke out in the six-story Kinani building used by shop owners and vendors to store their goods. The fire continued through the afternoon, though a smaller blaze in the Arabi Market for clothes was brought under control.
“I was there when I heard explosions," said Saleh Mahmoud, a vendor in the Shurja market. "Then a huge fire and black smoke came out. … We realized that it is Kinani building, which had a fire last year."
"I saw four people lying on ground with burns on their clothes and bodies," he said.
The bombing came a few hours after Prime Minister Nouri Maliki urged his security forces to step up their vigilance against violence, according to the Associated Press. Maliki said continued threats show that insurgents still want to prevent Iraq from becoming a stable nation.
“You have done much for Iraq, but Iraq remains in the circle of danger,” Maliki told security officials with whom he met at the start of the holiday. “It needs more attention and care to confront those who want to damage security, who are plotting to turn this Eid, the Eid of happiness to Iraqis, into the Eid of blood.”
Iraqi Shiites mark the beginning of the Eid on Monday, while Sunnis do so on Sunday.
-- Raheem Salman
Photo: Smoke rises from the site of bomb attacks that targeted Baghdad's wholesale Shurja market on Sunday. Credit: Saad Shalash / Reuters.