A cloud of deadly toxic gas engulfed an Iraqi town Tuesday, killing six people and leaving dozens of others choking on fumes after a tanker carrying chlorine exploded outside a restaurant.
An Iraqi Interior Ministry officials said the blast in the town of Taji, 12 miles (20 km) north of Baghdad, was caused by a bomb on board the tanker.
There were contrasting figures on the casualty toll. Baghdad security plan spokesman Gen. Qassim Atta told state-run al-Iraqiya TV that five people died in the blast and 148 were poisoned by the gas.
AQ in Iraq under Zarqawi reportedly planned a gas attack on Jordan that could have killed 20,000 people. Exit question: Are WMDs on tap for the countersurge?
It was not immediately clear if the chlorine truck blast was caused by a roadside bomb that hit the truck or if the vehicle itself was rigged with explosives as a makeshift chemical gas bomb.
One source at police headquarters said the truck was rigged with explosives, suggesting it was a “dirty bomb” employing a readily available substance used to purify water.