Car bombs kill six, injure dozens
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two car bombs exploded at almost the same time in and near Baghdad Saturday morning, wounding dozens of people and killing at least six, Iraqi police said.
One car bomb blast hit the convoy of Iraqi Minister of Justice Malik Dohan al-Hassan and killed four people, mostly believed to be his guards, and wounded six others.
The explosion happened near the minister's home in the Jamiya district of central Baghdad at 7:40 a.m., according to Iraqi Interior ministry spokesman Col. Adnan Abdulrahman.
A second car bomb -- said to be a suicide bomb -- exploded near an Iraqi National Guard base in the city of Mahmudiyah, local Iraqi police said. That explosion also happened at 7:40 a.m., police said.
At least 28 people were hurt, including 14 civilians and 14 National Guard troops. The only confirmed deaths were of two Iraqi National Guardsmen, police said.
Iraqi National Guard troops fired on the car, but the vehicle crashed into a security checkpoint and exploded next to the building, police said.
Mahmudiyah is located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Baghdad.
The two blasts followed a claim Friday that the terror network led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was responsible for the killing of an Iraqi provincial governor, according to messages posted on three Islamist militant Web sites.
Usama Kashmoula, governor of the Ninevah Province, died in an ambush Wednesday while his convoy was traveling between Baji and Tikrit in northern Iraq. Two of Kashmoula's bodyguards also were killed.
One Ninevah official said the strike was a targeted assassination and that Kashmoula was one of the highest-ranking Iraqi officials to be killed in such an attack. An investigation is under way. Ninevah is one of 18 provinces in the country.
Iraqi and American authorities blame the al-Zarqawi network for terror attacks against U.S.-led multinational and Iraqi forces as well as government officials and civilian contractors. The United States has posted a $25 million bounty for his capture.
Al-Zarqawi is believed to be behind the beheading of two hostages in Iraq, an American and a South Korean. The group also has claimed that it killed one of two Bulgarian truck drivers it held hostage.
A beheaded body was pulled Thursday from the Tigris River northwest of Bayji, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Tikrit. Mosul police said it may be one of the abducted Bulgarians. (Full story)