BAGHDAD — A Kia truck with explosives hidden in its cargo of watermelons exploded Tuesday in Diwaniyah, a largely Shi’ite city in southern Iraq, leaving at least 40 people dead, including a 6-year-old boy, local officials said. It was the deadliest in a string of attacks Tuesday in central and southern Iraq.
The truck bomb in Diwaniyah was detonated near the city’s main fish and vegetable market, where local officials had reopened the streets to vehicles less than five months ago after keeping them closed for years over security concerns. The area was crowded with morning shoppers at the time of the explosion.
‘‘What did we do wrong?’’ said Saad Abbas, a teacher who awoke later in a local hospital, being treated for wounds to the head and chest. ‘‘I was shopping for my family, and I felt a huge explosion. I fell to the ground, and the next thing I know I’m in the hospital.’’
Overall, the attacks Tuesday left nearly 50 people dead and more than 100 wounded. The variety of methods used is indicative of what Iraq still faces on a daily basis, more than six months after the US military departed and more than nine years after it invaded: a huge truck bomb, improvised explosives, and assassinations by gunfire.
In Karbala, a holy Shi’ite city in the south, two homemade bombs that were attached to vehicles detonated in a vegetable market, killing six people and wounding more than 25, according to a local police official.
In Taji, north of Baghdad, explosions killed two and wounded more than 15. Near Baqubah, in Diyala Province, a soldier and a policeman were killed by gunmen, and the bodies of two people who had been shot in the head were found in a farmer’s field, said a police official.