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Blast Kills One at N. Iraq Checkpoint

March 22, 2003

GERGEGO, Iraq (AP) _ At least one person was killed in an explosion Saturday at a checkpoint near the camp of the al-Qaida-linked militant group Ansar al-Islam, whose northern-Iraqi base reportedly was attacked overnight by U.S. cruise missiles.

The shattered remains of a car and at least one body were found, but few details were available immediately about what caused the explosion or how many people were involved. It was not clear if there was a surviving witness at the checkpoint.

The unidentified body was put in the back of a taxi and taken to the city of Sulaymaniah.

There was an unconfirmed report that a vehicle driving back from Khurmal had reached the checkpoint when a taxi pulled alongside and exploded.

A Kurdish official said Saturday that U.S. forces fired Tomahawk cruise missiles at suspected positions of the Ansar al Islam guerrillas

Hundreds of people fled Khurmal.

``I am afraid of another barrage of missiles coming at us,″ said Mohammed Rahman, 17, as he walked away from Khurmal with his cousins, carrying a bag with clothing in it.

``We’re living an abnormal life, we’re living in endless fear and war,″ said Rangi Said, 18 who carried a basket with food.

Update hourly