Car bomb kills six in Baghdad

A car bomb exploded near a market in eastern Baghdad today, killing at least six people and wounding 13, police said.

A car bomb exploded near a market in eastern Baghdad today, killing at least six people and wounding 13, police said.

The blast also set some shops on fire in the New Baghdad area of the capital, where a telecommunications centre also is located, said police 1st Lieutenant Mazin Saeed.

He said the car bomb, which destroyed 10 cars parked nearby, killed at least six people and wounded 13.

Earlier in Baghdad, suspected insurgents killed a brigadier general as he drove to work at the Ministry of Defence, police said.

The attackers opened fire from two cars at a vehicle carrying Brigadier General Iyad Imad Mahdi in the Jihad neighbourhood of western Baghdad, said police Captain Hamid Hussain.

No other information was immediately available, but insurgents often target Iraqi officials and security forces in drive-by shootings and attacks with roadside bombs and suicide car bombs aimed at their convoys and checkpoints.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, two car bombs exploded, including one targeting a Shiite mosque. Two people were killed and four wounded, police said.

The explosion near the mosque occurred in the city’s central area of Mousala, killing two people and wounding two, said police Captain Sarhad Talabani.

Earlier, explosives experts were called to the northeastern entrance of the city after residents spotted a roadside bomb, said police Brigadier General Sarhad Qader.

As the experts dismantled it, a car bomb parked nearby exploded, wounding two of them and destroying a nearby police car and a vehicle owned by a local resident, Qader said.

Kirkuk is a city of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds that is located 180 miles north of Baghdad.

The latest violence comes a day after suicide bombs ripped through a crowded market and a line of security force recruits as a wave of explosions and gunfire across Iraq killed at least 69 people – pushing the death toll from insurgent violence to more than 400 in less than two weeks.

The bloody attacks, which also wounded 160 people, came despite a major US offensive targeting followers of Iraq’s most-wanted terrorist near the Syrian border, a remote desert region believed to be a staging ground for some of the insurgents’ deadliest assaults.

The day’s events underscored how intense the fight for Iraq’s future has become in the scant three months since Iraqis voted in the country’s first democratic elections and more than two years since the US declared the end of major combat.

Insurgents averaged about 70 attacks a day at the start of May, up from 30/40 in February and March, said Lieutenant Colonel Steven Boylan, a spokesman for US forces in Iraq.

President Jalal Talabani, on his first foreign trip as head of state, appealed to South American nations to support his country’s efforts to defeat its insurgency.

“Terrorism is not limited to Iraq, it is a global curse,” Talabani told heads of state and ministers in Brazil for the first summit of South American and Arab countries.

The latest violence came as hundreds of American troops in tanks and light armoured vehicles rolled through desert outposts along the Euphrates River in search of followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

US military spokesman Capt. Jeffrey Pool said the region is used as staging area for foreign fighters who cross into Iraq from Syria along ancient smuggling routes known as ”rat lines”.

As many as 100 insurgents were killed in the first 48 hours of the offensive when US forces clashed with well-organised and well-equipped fighters in Obeidi, 200 miles west of Baghdad, the US military said.

At least three Marines were reported killed and 20 wounded in the offensive - one of the biggest US operations since Fallujah was taken from militants six months ago.

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