Authorities in Iraq say a car bomb exploded in central Baghdad early Monday, killing at least three people and injuring two others.

The blast occurred near one of the gates to the heavily fortified Green Zone, where the headquarters of the Iraqi government, U.S. forces and most foreign missions are located.

Separately, the U.S. military says more than 35 insurgents were killed when coalition air strikes hit five targets in a small western town (Obeidi) near the Syrian border. Officials say 25 other insurgents were captured.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have been operating in the Euphrates River valley to stem the flow of insurgents and supplies from across the border, ahead of next month's parliamentary elections.

On Sunday, Iraq's Sunni Arab leaders called for an end to large-scale military operations in mostly Sunni areas, saying they may discourage Sunnis from taking part in the vote.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.