Saturday, June 7, 2008

Car bombings in Baghdad leave at least 6 dead

A suicide car bomb and another car packed with explosives targeted Iraqi police patrols Saturday on opposite sides of Baghdad, killing at least six people, police said.The suicide attacker rammed into a police patrol mid-afternoon in Nisoor Square on the capital's west side, killing a civilian and a policeman, police said. Another five people were wounded.

The other explosion took place nearly simultaneously across town at a crowded bus stop where passengers were lining up to catch rides to eastern Shiite neighborhoods, though police said the target was the passing convoy of a top Iraqi police general.

Four people were killed and 18 wounded, Brig. Gen. Nazar Majeed among them, said an officer on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media. Three of the dead were policemen, he said.

The area includes shops that sell spare auto parts and tires, and is frequently used as a shortcut for Interior Ministry convoys trying to avoid traffic jams on another main street leading to government buildings, the officer said.

Tareq Salman, who owns a tea stall nearby, said he heard a huge explosion and then saw smoke spewing from the bus station.

"I saw several passengers running and several minibuses on fire. I saw wounded men screaming for help and police cars taking some seriously wounded to the hospital," 54-year-old Salman said. "There were blood stains and one burned body."

"Most of my tea cups were broken and some car parts shops were damaged," he said.

Such blasts — once a somber but daily feature of life in Iraq's capital — have become far less frequent since a U.S. troop buildup last year. A truck loaded with rockets exploded Wednesday in northeast Baghdad, killing 18 people in the deadliest single blast in more than two months.

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