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Iraqi Police: Baghdad Explosion Kills At Least 17 - 2003-12-17

An apparent car bomb has exploded in Baghdad. Iraqi police tell VOA the blast killed at least 17 people and wounded many more. The bomb exploded at about 0600 (local time), in Baghdad's al-Bayaa neighborhood. The blast was powerful enough to shake the ground, several kilometers away.

Witnesses say a truck exploded in the middle of an intersection. It is not clear what the intended target was. There are no U.S. military facilities or Iraqi police stations nearby. Most of the casualties are believed to be civilians.

Iraqi police believe the driver may have accidentally detonated his explosives on the way to his target.

There are reports of a second overnight explosion in another neighborhood, but no details are yet available.

A wave of suicide attacks have hit Iraqi police stations and U.S. military bases since coalition forces captured Saddam Hussein, Saturday. There have also been a series of violent pro-Saddam protests in towns where support for the ousted Iraqi leader is strongest.

The U-S Army says its troops raided one of those towns, Samarra, Tuesday, and captured more than 70 suspected insurgents, including a man believed to be the leader of a guerrilla cell.