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Chlorine bombs target Iraq
Three trucks carrying toxic gas have exploded in western Iraq, killing at least two police officers and leaving 350 civilians needing treatment, the US military has said.
The three attacks were carried out over the course of three hours on Friday afternoon, two of them south of the town of Fallujah and one northeast of the city of Ramadi.
"Approximately 350 Iraqi civilians and six coalition force members were treated for chlorine gas exposure," said Lieutenant Roger Hollenbeck of the US-led Multinational Division West, based in Ramadi.
The area where the bombings occurred is a favoured base for fighters linked to al-Qaeda.
In each attack, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives and gas canisters near police and civilian targets in crowded areas.
At least six people were killed in the blasts according to Iraqi state broadcaster, but the US military has so far only confirmed the deaths of two Iraqi policemen in the second explosion, which occurred in Ameriyah, outside Fallujah.
"Coalition forces confirmed that the Ameriyah citizens exposed to the chlorine were treated locally for symptoms ranging from minor skin and lung irritation to vomiting," Hollenbeck said in a statement.