BAGHDAD, Dec 8: At least 30 Iraqis were killed and 25 wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus in Baghdad Thursday, an interior ministry official said,report agencies.
Kidnappers holding four Western peace activists in Iraq have extended a threatened deadline for their murder until Saturday, amid mounting appeals for the release of foreigners abducted in Iraq.
The so-called Brigades of the Swords of Righteousness said it had delayed by two days an ultimatum that expired Thursday for London and Washington to release all prisoners held in Iraqi and coalition prisons.
The resurgent foreign hostage crisis -- which has seen seven Westerners seized in two weeks -- exposes the lack of security plaguing Iraq, nearly three years since the US-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein and just ahead of the December 15 polls to elect a parliament.
In the Baghdad attack, a bus had just pulled out of the Al-Nahda bus station en route for the southern Shiite town of Nassiriyah when the bomber detonated his charge, sending a thick plume of smoke into the sky.
At least 30 people were killed and 20 wounded in the bombing, which left the bus a charred wreck.
In another attack, one Iraqi was killed and six wounded in a drive-by shooting south of the capital.
Late Wednesday, a grainy video broadcast on Al-Jazeera television showed images of two presumed hostages with their hands in chains.
The Arabic satellite station said they were British grandfather Norman Kember and American Tom Fox -- kidnapped in Baghdad on November 26 with Canadians, James Loney, 41 and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, from the Christian Peacemakers Team.
Many pleas, like the abduction announcements are relayed by Al-Jazeera, a television station that has come under criticism from some in the West for exacerbating the crisis by putting out videos of grisly demands and deaths.
One rather unlikely appeal came from Abu Qatada, dubbed Al-Qaeda's spiritual head in Europe, in a video message broadcast on Arab television stations from his prison cell in Britain.
Just days after a Sunni Arab extremist group claimed to have kidnapped an American hostage, a US man told a local newspaper that the blond man shown in a video broadcast on Al-Jazeera was almost certainly his brother.
The Al-Jazeera video showed the cover of a US passport and a Bank of Jordan account card with the name of Ronald Schulz.