10 killed in police station suicide bombing

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The Independent Online

At least 10 people died after a suicide car bomber hit a police station in northeast Baghdad today.

The victims included two people in the bomber's car, three policemen and five civilians, police reported. A further 28 people were wounded.

Capt. Sean Kirley, of the 2nd Armored Cavalry, said the blast left a crater iabout 10 feet across and 4 feet deep.

Police Maj. Majid Abdel-Hameed said the car, a white Oldsmobile, was fired on after driving through the police compound gate. The bomb then detonated.

The attack happened just as 50 police officers were gathered in the yard to collect their pay in the Shiite Muslim slum known as Sadr City.

Sgt. Saad Drawal al-Dharaji, 29, injured in the leg, said a local Shiite Muslim imam had threatened the police.

"We will have our revenge for this. The one who did it threatened us first. I don't know his name. He is the imam of Friday prayers at the al-Mohsen mosque," al-Dharaji said. "Last Friday at the mosque he threatened us. He sent us letters and sent letters to other police stations. He told the police to hand over a policeman for punishment because he said he had worked with Saddam Hussein's regime."

Police Sgt. Jassim Mohsen, 31, confirmed that threats had been issued against police.

An Iraqi policeman who pushed through the thousands of neighborhood people who gathered around the scene had been stabbed in the upper right arm after being set upon by the mob. He was treated by military medics at the scene.

His arrival created a commotion among the crowd, which began chanting: ""No, no to America."

Associated Press Television News camera crews also were attacked by the crowds and had some equipment stolen. One crew member was slightly injured.

There were many mangled police cars at the bomb site and much debris in the big courtyard in front of the one-story building.

Scores of US soldiers surrounded the building in Humvees.

A mosque near the scene was blaring warnings to the thousands of residents who had gathered at the station to leave the area for fear of a second booby-trapped car.

"It was a huge blast and everything became dark from the debris and sand. I was thrown to the ground," said Mohammed Adnan, 35, who sells watermelons from rickety stand across from blast.

Also opposite the police station, Fakhriya Jarallah, who sells vegetables, said two of her sons were repairing the outside wall of the compound when the blast occurred.

"I ran across the road like a mad woman to find out what happened to my sons. But thanks to God they are both safe," she said.

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