Five Iraqis killed in car bomb

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The Independent Online

Five people were killed when a car bomb exploded in front of the home of a senior Iraqi security official in east Baghdad today, 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 Shi'ite Muslim Dawa party.

A ministry official 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 200 yards 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 woman neighbour who died in her home.

US Army Capt. Brian O'Malley said the blast occurred at about 8.05am 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 neighbours 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 told reporters. "I want every honourable man in this country to condemn this crime."

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 adjoining the sidewalk.

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

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

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.

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