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Bombs outside Baghdad's Green Zone kill 16

Embassy official: Fortified home to government 'not breached'

A U.S. armored vehicle blocks an area where car bombs exploded outside the Green Zone on Saturday.
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Bombs went off Saturday outside the Green Zone.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two car bombs killed sixteen people and wounded 38 others Saturday when they exploded at an entrance to Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, Iraq's Ministry of Health said.

Five Iraqi police officers were among the dead.

The morning blasts occurred at the U.S.-led coalition's Checkpoint 2 entrance, near the al-Karkh Iraqi police station, authorities said.

After the bombings, insurgents attacked that checkpoint and another one with small arms fire.

Checkpoint 2, one of five into the Green Zone, is near the Assassin's Gate entrance used frequently by Westerners and reporters.

Iraq's interim government is based in the Green Zone, which is also home to the U.S. Embassy. An embassy official said the area's security was not breached during the attacks.

Police said one of the bombs contained about 400 kilograms (882 pounds) of explosive.

Insurgent attacks have continued in several areas of Iraq in advance of national elections set for January 30. U.S. and Iraqi officials have characterized the violence as an attempt to derail that vote.

Defeated in Mosul

U.S. military officials said Saturday that coalition and Iraqi forces had defeated insurgents who attacked four police stations in Mosul the day before.

The insurgents were trying to seize the police stations and destabilize Mosul with coordinated attacks, the officials said.

Also, U.S. and Iraqi troops killed at least 12 insurgents Friday in a battle that started when a U.S. patrol in western Mosul came under sustained fire, the U.S. military said.

Other developments

  • Two U.S. soldiers were killed Saturday in separate attacks. One soldier was killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near Ghalibiya, just west of Baquba, U.S. military officials said. The bomb was targeting a U.S. convoy, officials said. The other soldier was killed by a bomb in eastern Baghdad. The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq now stands at 1,270.
  • Hundreds of British troops returned to their base in southern Iraq on Saturday after a monthlong deployment in a restive region near Baghdad, the British Ministry of Defense said. The battle group of about 850 troops arrived in the southern port city of Basra after a two-day, 370-mile (600-kilometer) journey from Camp Dogwood, its temporary base in central Iraq.
  • CNN's Jamie McIntyre, Nic Robertson, Jane Arraf, Kasra Naji, Cal Perry, Nermeen Al-Mufti, Mohammed Tawfeeq, Faris Qasira and Kianne Sadeq contributed to this report.

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