A suicide bomber dressed as a policeman blew himself up at the heavily guarded headquarters of a feared commando unit in Baghdad yesterday, killing five people, police said.
Separately, US soldiers clashed with armed Iraqis early yesterday in Baghdad, killing two of the Iraqis and wounding two others, the military said. Iraqi police said the victims were security guards mistakenly killed by the Americans.
The attack at the two-story headquarters of the Wolf Brigade follows weeks of accusations against the Shiite Muslim-dominated force by Sunni Arab leaders, who have accused it of kidnapping and killing Sunnis, including clerics.
It was unclear how the attacker managed to enter the tightly guarded compound in eastern Baghdad's Bab Sharqi neighborhood with his explosives being undetected. But by apparently being dressed in police uniform, the attacker may have managed to avoid the stringent checks in place.
People entering the compound, which also houses the 10-story Interior Ministry building, must go through metal detectors and be frisked by policemen who also have sniffer dogs before arriving at the building.
Major Falah al-Mahamdawi said the attacker was disguised as a policeman and detonated explosives at the Wold Brigade headquarters.
"I was inside the headquarters building when the explosion took place," al-Mahamdawi said. "Then I saw five dead bodies lying on the ground plus seven injured people, most of them are policemen."
The brazen attack comes amid a time of Shiite-Sunni wrangling over the future role of Iraq's minority Sunni population in the country's political process.
Sunnis once enjoyed greater privilege under Saddam Hussein before the former dictator was ousted two years ago. The rise to power of Iraq's majority Shiite community and the US-allied Kurds has riled Sunnis. This is believed to be a major factor in the continuing insurgency in Iraq that has killed more than 900 people since the new Shiite-led government was announced April 28.
In another attack in Baghdad, 10 people were killed late Friday when a car bomb exploded outside a falafel restaurant in Baghdad, Dr. Ali Khazim of Nour Hospital said yesterday. Two children were among the dead, while another 28 were wounded.
Separately, two Oil Ministry employees were shot dead early yesterday in Baghdad's southern Dora district, police official Rasol Salih said. A third man was critically wounded and taken to hospital.
The bodies were found in a canal under a footbridge and one of the slain men was seen handcuffed and wearing civilian clothes, according to footage taken by Associated Press Television News.
A bomb exploded in a cemetery in the southern city of Najaf early yesterday, killing two Iraqis, including and 8-year-old girl.