'Three explosions ripped through the city of Najaf on Thursday, just hundreds of yards from one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam.
Two homemade bombs detonated just five minutes apart about 5:30 p.m. in an open-air fish-and-vegetable market. Police found another bomb inside a garbage truck. As they tried to defuse it, a bomb in a car parked nearby exploded, ripping through the crowd, said police Capt. Hadi al-Najafi.
Authorities gave conflicting estimates of the number of dead, ranging from one to at least two dozen.
A paint seller in Najaf's old quarter was trapped under the rubble of his store, whose ceiling collapsed from the power of the blasts.
Abbas Elaiwi, like many in this relatively calm city about 90 miles south of Baghdad, was shocked that the explosions had occurred so close to the Imam Ali shrine, where the son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad is buried.
...Jawad al-Garawi, a provincial council member in Najaf, blamed Thursday's attacks on remnants of Saddam Hussein's party and swore to "purge" them from police and government positions in the province.'