BAGHDAD, May 1: At least seven people were killed and 20 injured when a fire broke out at a petrol station in Baghdad on Thursday.

Several of the injured were in critical condition, said an employee at a nearby hospital, which took in some of the wounded. The reasons for the fire were not immediately known.

And seven US soldiers were injured in a grenade attack in Fallujah as anti-US feelings over the killing of 16 people earlier this week boiled into violence again,

In Baghdad, hospital employees said a victim of the fire told them that shots had been directed at a gas tank just before the fire erupted.

Rudi Sahel, 14, whose brother was injured, said there had been an argument and that someone fired a Kalashnikov rifle.

But other residents said the shots were fired in celebration at electricity being restored in the Alawi area. Power is only now returning to Baghdad a month after it went out amid heavy US bombing.

And some witnesses said the fire could have been caused by a malfunction, such as an electrical short-circuit.

Hassan Alawani, 18, said he pulled three bodies out of the fire and could not tell how many more had been killed. He described a scene of destruction in which “bodies in charred pieces” were scattered across the debris.

A thin column of smoke and orange flames were seen several hours after the fire broke out, and rescue workers feared more people could be trapped.—AFP\Reuters

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