A car packed with explosives detonated in a crowded market in the northern city of Tal Afar on Wednesday, killing 20 people, including nine children, and wounding 82 others, police and hospital officials said. Two car bombs also exploded in the northeastern city of Mosul, killing two people and wounding 15.
The attacks underscored Iraq’s fragility, even as U.S. forces on Wednesday handed over control of the southern province of Qadisiyah to Iraqi security forces amid growing confidence in the Iraqi government’s ability to secure restive areas. It was the 10th of Iraq’s 18 provinces to be placed under government control.
Wednesday’s bombings occurred in Nineveh province, which U.S. and Iraqi officials describe as the last stronghold of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaida in Iraq.
DNA confirms Romanov remains
Ninety years after the Bolsheviks executed the last czar and his family, Russian investigators said Wednesday that DNA analysis confirmed categorically that remains found in a pit last year in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg were those of Czar Nicholas II’s children, Crown Prince Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria.
With that announcement, the remains of all of Nicholas II’s family have been accounted for. The myth, reinforced down the years in films and false claims, that one of the czar’s offspring had survived, has been formally put to rest.
“It is very important that these results are now official and that it is 100 percent so,” Prince Dmitry Romanov, a descendant of an earlier czar, Nicholas I, said in an interview on Ekho Moskvy radio Wednesday.