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Apparent Suicide Attack Kills 20 Outside US HQ in Baghdad - 2004-01-18

A massive car bomb explosion in central Baghdad, outside the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition, has killed at least 20 Iraqis and injured scores of others. Two U.S. soldiers were also reported slightly injured in, what military officials say was a likely suicide attack.

The car bomb exploded near the main entrance leading to the U.S. military and civilian headquarters in Baghdad.

"At three minutes after eight a vehicle driven by a terrorist detonated just outside of one of our major checkpoints with approximately 1,000 pounds [450 kilos] of explosives in the vehicle," said Colonel Ralph Baker, who is responsible for security in the area.

The attack occurred at a busy time, when Iraqis were lined up at the checkpoint on their way to work at coalition headquarters.

Witnesses described the devastating scene, with people lying on the ground after the blast and others trapped in burning cars.

Hours after the bombing, U.S. troops had cordoned off the area and Colonel Baker said an investigation is under way.