Two car bombs in the Iraqi capital have killed at least 40 people and wounded more than 100 others. The U.S. military also reported 10 American soldiers were killed Monday in bomb attacks and a helicopter crash. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from Irbil that three Westerners were also reported kidnapped in Baghdad.
The first blast in Baghdad targeted Tayaran Square in the city's downtown, when a minibus carrying explosives detonated on a busy street, setting fire to cars and damaging nearby buildings.
The Associated Press reported that police tried to confiscate the cameras of reporters who were photographing the aftermath.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi parliament passed a law prohibiting media coverage of blast sites. Lawmakers had said that the media sensationalized and inaccurately reported on the attacks by using graphic blast scene footage.
About one hour after the first blast, a second truck bomb targeted a Shi'ite mosque in the city's southwest al-Amil neighborhood. One witnesses described the scene.
He says he saw a truck driving by him and heading toward a mosque. When he saw it, he shouted "a car bomb, a car bomb" as pedestrians scattered.
In central Baghdad, in an office near the Finance Ministry, witnesses said a group of gunmen kidnapped at least three Westerners who were working at the office. The identity and the number of foreigners abducted are unclear, but there are reports they may have been German or British.
The month of May, with 112 American troops killed, is the deadliest for U.S. forces since December, when the same number died. Since the 2003 invasion, nearly 3,500 U.S. troops have died in Iraq.