The Iraqi government is urging voters to approve a new constitution Saturday, and says Iraqis should stand firm against insurgents trying to stop the referendum.

In Baghdad Sunday, government spokesman Laith Kuba compared insurgents to rats, saying they spread disease and death among the people.

Earlier, a suicide car bomb exploded in southern Iraq outside an apartment building used by a Shi'ite militia. At least one child was reported killed in the blast and several others wounded.

The attack in Basra appeared aimed at the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade militia. News reports say Basra's former governor Hassan al-Rashid, a senior militia leader, escaped unharmed.

Separately, the U.S. military says a Marine was killed late Saturday in Ramadi when a bomb blast ripped through his vehicle.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.