An apparent car bomb has exploded in Baghdad. Iraqi police tell VOA the blast killed at least 12 people and wounded many more.

Iraqi police and civil defense forces are cleaning up debris after a deadly early morning car bombing in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

The bomb exploded at about 6:00 a.m. in Baghdad's al-Bayaa district. The blast was powerful enough to shake the ground several kilometers away.

Witnesses say a truck exploded while it was moving through a major intersection. It ignited and destroyed several other vehicles, including a minibus packed with passengers on their way to work.

The blast did not hit any U.S. military facilities or Iraqi police stations, which have frequent targets of car bombings in Iraq.

Iraqi Police Lieutenant Colonel Sabah Fahad told VOA most of the victims were civilians.

He says the people who did this are terrorists. You can see that the only people killed are ordinary citizens of Baghdad. There were no military or security forces nearby, only innocent people.

Iraqi police believe the intended target may have been a police station about two kilometers down the road in the direction the truck was traveling. Police believe the driver may have accidentally detonated his explosives on the way to his target, or collided with another vehicle, perhaps the minibus.

A wave of suicide attacks have hit Iraqi police stations and U.S. military bases since coalition forces captured Saddam Hussein on Saturday. Military officials have blamed Saddam's supporters for most of the attacks on coalition and civilian targets over the last few months, and they say they expected an upsurge in violence after Saddam's arrest.

But some Iraqis believe Saddam could not have been coordinating the attacks from his rural hideout near his hometown of Tikrit. Eyewitness Alaa Faraj Abed was riding in a car with his uncle, who was wounded in the Wednesday blast.

They say Saddam was leading the attacks, and how he is in jail," said Mr. Abed. "I do not believe that Iraqis are behind the bombings."

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, on Tuesday and captured more than 70 suspected insurgents, including the leader of a guerrilla cell.

Samarra is about 100 kilometers north of Baghdad, and was the site of an attempted ambush on a U.S. convoy earlier Tuesday. The troops exchanged fire with their attackers, and a military statement says they killed 11.