Sun, May 23, 2004 - Page 6 News List

Baghdad rocked by car bomb

UNENDING VIOLENCE An explosion in front of the home of a leading Iraqi security official is the latest bad news in a nation where bad news never ceases

AP , BAGHDAD

An Iraqi man makes his way through the site of a Baghdad car bombing, yesterday.

PHOTO: AP

A car bomb exploded yesterday in front of the home of a senior Iraqi security official, killing at least five people and destroying several vehicles on an east Baghdad street, the US military and Iraqi police said.

The blast damaged the home of Abdul-Jabbar Youssef al-Sheikhli, one of three deputy interior ministers and a member of the Shiite Muslim Dawa party. A ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said al-Sheikhli received head and chest injuries and was in stable condition at a nearby hospital.

It was the second fatal car-bombing in Baghdad this week. On Monday, a suicide car bombing killed the president of the Iraqi Governing Council, Izzadine Saleem, and about six other people near the headquarters of the US-run coalition in the capital. Saleem was also a member of the Dawa party. The latest blast occurred about 200m from the headquarters of the former Iraqi general security service.

Police and US military officers at the scene said the five dead included four Iraqi policemen and a female neighbor who died in her home.

US Army Captain Brian O'Malley said the blast occurred at about 8:05am and was caused by a "vehicle-borne improvised explosive device."

It was unclear whether the bomb was detonated by a suicide attacker.

Interior Minister Samir Shaker Mahmoud al-Sumeidi visited the site and was mobbed by distraught neighbors who screamed at him to "come and see what happened to our homes."

"God does not accept this," one man shouted.

Al-Sumeidi described the attack as a "terrible crime" and promised to catch those responsible.

"It would seem that the criminals do not want the law to prevail or the security men to implement it," he said.

"I want every honorable man in this country to condemn this crime," he said.

More than an hour after the blast, smoke rose from several wrecked cars, and debris was scattered in the street. The explosion also knocked down part of a wall.

Three palm trees in the garden of the deputy minister's home were blackened from the explosion. Blood stains could be seen inside the two-storey house and on the street.

US soldiers and Iraqi policemen, one of whom appeared to have a fresh cut on his face, milled around. Two US soldiers tended to an injured person lying on the ground.

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