A suicide bomber attacked a crowd of people waiting outside a heavily guarded court building in Baghdad yesterday, killing 10 Iraqis and wounding 47, police said.
All were civilians except two policemen who were wounded, police added.
Police first said the attack was caused by a car bomb targeting a three-car police convoy in the area, but later said it was caused by a man with explosives hidden beneath his clothing.
The man set them off in a crowd of police officers and civilians waiting outside the civil court, said police Lieutenant Thair Mahmoud.
The officers were guarding the building and many of the civilians were meeting just outside it with paralegals writing the petitions the civilians planned to submit to the court.
The blast occurred at 9:45am on Palestine Street, a major road in a mixed Sunni-Shiite area of eastern Baghdad, he said. It was powerful enough to smash the windows of some nearby shops.
Firefighters in yellow helmets rushed to the scene and were using hoses to clean blood stains from the sidewalk and street outside the court.
In other attacks yesterday, three drive-by shootings in Baghdad killed army Brigadier Mohammed Ridha Abdul-Karim, a civilian, and a driver for Iraq's human rights ministry, police said.
Iraq's Interior Ministry also updated the number of Iraqis whose bullet-ridden bodies were found in the country on Wednesday to 43, many of them in the capital.
They were apparent victims of death squads that kidnap civilians of rival Muslim sects, torture them and dump their bodies.
Lately, Iraq's violence has shifted mainly from attacks by insurgents on US and Iraqi forces to carefully targeted murders of Iraqis. Such sectarian violence by death squads targeting Shiite and Sunni civilians sharply increased after the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra, a city 95km north of Baghdad.
Sunni-led insurgents also have been boldly attacking fellow Sunni Arabs who cooperate with the US-backed Iraqi government by joining Iraq's military or its police forces.
On Wednesday, a suicide bomber cloaked in explosives killed two policemen and 13 police recruits gathered in Fallujah, a city surrounded by US Marine checkpoints. In a nearby town, three newly recruited Sunni soldiers from the US-trained Iraqi army were found slain.
The suicide attack outside the main police station in Fallujah occurred a day after the governor of Anbar Province, which includes Fallujah, narrowly escaped assassination. A suicide bomber exploded his vehicle near Maamoun Sami Rashid al-Alwani's convoy in Ramadi, killing 10 people. The governor was not injured, US officials said.
US and Iraqi officials have been urging Sunni Arabs to join the police and army, which has been dominated by the rival Shiite Muslim sect and ethnic Kurds. Sunni community leaders say the presence of Shiite and Kurdish troops in their areas raises sectarian tensions and undermines confidence in the government.