20 dead in Ramadi chlorine bombing

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At least 20 people have been killed in a chlorine gas bombing in Iraq.

The deaths occurred when a suicide bomber drove a truck packed with explosives into a police checkpoint in Ramadi, the capital of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province.

A cloud of chlorine gas filled the air after the blast, wounding at least 30 others.

Today's bombing is the latest in trend of chlorine attacks in recent weeks. On March 17th three chlorine bombs killed at least eight people and left hundreds more needing treatment.

Anbar province has proven especially difficult for US forces operating in the country, but the attention of American military commanders has today been focussed further south as US heavy armour is reportedly being deployed in a major push against the southern Iraqi city of Diwaniya.

Traffic movements in the city were curbed earlier today as coalition forces seek to tackle the Mehdi Army in the city, a militant group loyal to the Shia

One person has been killed in the fighting while four others have been wounded, the DPA news agency reports.

Meanwhile it was confirmed today by the US-funded Radio Free Europe organisation that the body of one of its journalists, Khamail Khalaf, has been found shot in the head in Baghdad.

Observers say Ms Khalaf's fate, although attracting greater than usual attention, is typical of the regular murders of victims killed in Iraq's bloody capital.

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