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Blast near U.N. headquarters in Baghdad

These vehicles were damaged in Monday's blast.
These vehicles were damaged in Monday's blast.

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A car bomb has exploded near the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. CNN's Walter Rodgers reports (September 22)
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A suicide bombing Monday -- the second in two months to target the U.N. headquarters in the Iraqi capital -- killed an Iraqi security guard and the bomber, a U.S. military spokesman said.

"A bomb went off from inside of a car, killing two individuals -- one being the bomber," said Capt. Sean Kirley, a U.S. Army spokesman, of the explosion that took place at a checkpoint on the perimeter of the U.N. compound.

"No damage was done to the U.N. building. No coalition forces were killed or injured that we know of, at this point."

Doctors at nearby al Kindi hospital said 16 to 18 people were brought there for treatment following the explosion -- four in critical condition, who were transferred to other hospitals.

Iraqi police officer Wissam Jabar said, "I heard a huge noise. The next thing I was thrown forward two or three meters and saw my leg and my back were covered with blood."

Immediately after the blast -- shortly after 8 a.m. -- U.S. Army helicopters circled overhead and American forces rushed to secure the scene, CNN's Nic Robertson reported. The explosion destroyed a nearby house.

Last month, a flatbed truck packed with explosives was detonated in front of the U.N. building and killed at least 22 people, including U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

U.N. staff are no longer stationed at the facility, although U.N. and U.S. security personnel have been standing guard.

Meanwhile, there were five explosions Sunday night near a U.S. base camp at Ba'qubah, the Coalition Public Information Center said. According to the CPIC, no servicemembers were injured and no military equipment was damaged. Ba'qubah is located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of the Iraqi capital.

3 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq

Three U.S. soldiers were killed Saturday in two separate attacks in Iraq, according to the Coalition Press Information Center.

In the first attack, a soldier from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was killed after an explosive device ripped through a U.S. military convoy traveling west of Baghdad. The attack happened at 9:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. EDT) in Ramadi, CPIC said.

Shortly afterward, a mortar attack killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded 13 others at Abu Ghraib prison just outside Baghdad, the CPIC said.

Two mortar shells hit the prison complex , according to a press center statement. The soldiers were from the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, according to Central Command. None of the detainees was injured.

With the attacks, 304 U.S. troops have been killed since the Iraq war began in March -- 194 from hostile fire, and 109 non-hostile deaths.

Earlier in the day, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council was wounded in an attack on her convoy.

Akila al-Hashimi sustained severe internal injuries when her convoy was attacked. Doctors operated on Hashimi Saturday to remove a bullet in her abdomen, and she underwent further surgery at midnight. She remained in critical but stable condition Sunday following surgery.

Around midnight, Hashimi underwent surgery at Ibn Sina Hospital, and doctors may have to operate on her later in the day, according to Iraqi police and Entifadah Qanbar, a spokesman for Iraqi Governing Council president Ahmad Chalabi.

Qanbar described Hashimi as conscious and in "very high spirits."

One of three women on the Governing Council, Hashimi was shot in the abdomen and leg in the attack, which also left her brother, guard and driver wounded.

Hashimi's brother was in stable condition after suffering injuries when the car crashed. Her driver was shot in the back and was in critical condition, while her guard was in stable condition suffering from a gunshot wound to the arm.

It was the first attack on Iraq's new leadership since coalition officials established the council several months ago.

Chalabi said Hashimi had received repeated threats.

He said he believed remnants of Saddam Hussein's former regime -- of which Hashimi was a senior member -- are to blame.

"She chose to continue her patriotic duty as a member of the Iraqi Governing Council to build a free, democratic and prosperous Iraq," Chalabi said.

"(We) firmly believe that the criminals were remnants of the Baathist regime and Saddam's assassins."

Chalabi said the council members "will not be intimidated by the terrorists."

Hashimi is the only council member who held a high position in Saddam's regime. Most of the 25 council members are Iraqi exiles.

She was expected to come to New York for the upcoming U.N. General Assembly and has been mentioned as Iraq's next U.N. ambassador.

Chalabi said the Iraqi delegation "despite the intention of the terrorists will be at the U.N. General Assembly to represent Iraq and deliver Iraq's message of peace, democracy and human rights."

The attack on Hashimi occurred around 7:30 a.m. Saturday (11:30 p.m. EDT Friday) when a group of at least four gunmen in a pickup truck fired on Hashimi's two-car convoy as it left her home, police said.

The gunmen reportedly threw a grenade in the road to prevent anyone chasing them as they sped away.

Local Iraqi guards fired on the attackers, killing one of them, according to Iraqi police.

Police said guards had spotted the same men hanging around the neighborhood for several days, possibly casing Hashimi's house.

U.S. civilian administrator for Iraq L. Paul Bremer denounced the attack in a statement issued Saturday from Washington.

"We are shocked and saddened by this horrific and cowardly act against a colleague and a respected member of the Governing Council of Iraq," Bremer said.

"This senseless attack is not just against the person of Akila al-Hashimi. It is an attack against the people of Iraq and against the common goals we share for the establishment of a fully democratic government."

CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson, Correspondent Jason Bellini, and Senior U.N. Producer Liz Neisloss contributed to this report


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