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14 killed,112 wounded in Mosul blast
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An explosion at a building in the northern city of Mosul has killed at least 14 people and wounded 112 others, police said on Wednesday.

The blast inside the residential building was a terror attack, Brigadier Abdul Krarim al-Jubury of the Mosul police told Xinhua.

He said that the blast at about 4:10 p.m. (1310 GMT) took place before the Iraqi security force and U.S. troops were about to enter the building on tips that explosives were inside, but the insurgents, who might have learned the approach of the troops, detonated the explosives before their arrival.

The building was deserted and most of the casualties were passers-by and residents in the nearby houses damaged in the explosion, and the rescuers were still working to search for people buried under rubble, according to the officer.

Also on Wednesday, a roadside bombing killed at least six people and wounded 12 in the northern oil city of Kirkuk.

The attack targeted the convey of Colonel Jawdet Mohammed Abdulla, deputy chief of Kirkuk's police academy, Brigadier-General Burhan Wasif of the Kirkuk police told Xinhua.

Abdulla survived the bombing with slight injuries, Wasif said.

The U.S. military and the Iraqi troops are carrying out a large offensive mainly in northern Iraq to stamp out al-Qaida and other insurgents.

In two separate statements, the US military said that at least 20 terrorists have been killed since Wednesday.

Security in Iraq dramatically improved over the past several months. The US military said in December violence had dropped by about 60 percent since June, thanks to a large influx of US troops and the cooperation of Iraq's Sunnis.

Yet, it warned that al-Qaida members, who had largely been squeezed out of Baghdad and the former hotbed of Anbar province, were regrouping in northern Iraqi provinces and still capable of launching remarkable attacks.

(Xinhua News Agency January 24, 2008)

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