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5 Dead, Iraqi Official Wounded in Baghdad Bombing - 2004-05-22

A suicide car bomb attack in Baghdad killed at least five people and wounded a senior Iraqi official Saturday.

Officials say deputy Interior Minister Abdul Jabbar Youssef Al-Sheikhli is in stable condition after the attack, which killed three of his bodyguards, a neighbor and the bomber.

The attack was claimed by a group believed to be led by al-Qaida linked terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The group says it was also behind Monday's suicide car bomb attack that killed the head of the U.S. - appointed Iraqi Governing Council, Izzedin Salim, and six other people.

Late Saturday, heavy fighting was reported in the Iraqi cities of Najaf and Kufa. Witnesses reported hearing loud explosions as U.S. forces battled militiamen loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Earlier, U.S. General Mark Kimmitt denied reports that U.S. forces had pulled out of the center of the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala, where they have battled the same militia for more than a month. He says some forces had been repositioned.

General Kimmitt also said U.S. officials have found no evidence a wedding party was hit in a U.S. air strike in western Iraq on Wednesday. Iraqis say 40 wedding guests were killed. U.S. officials say the target was a building used by foreign fighters. General Kimmitt said "terrorist manuals" were found at the site.

Meanwhile, U.S. military officials said an American soldier was killed and three wounded when their vehicle was ambushed by a car bomb south of Baghdad.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.