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Suicide bomber kills 23 at Baghdad eatery
A Baghdad restaurant is in shambles Sunday after a suicide bombing.


• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide



BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Wearing a vest of explosives, a suicide bomber blew himself up and killed at least 23 people Sunday at a crowded Baghdad restaurant where Iraqi police and security forces were eating lunch, Iraq police said.

Seven of the dead were police officers, police said. The attack also wounded 36 people, including 16 policemen, police said.

The Kabob restaurant is in central Baghdad near a checkpoint leading to the heavily fortified Green Zone, seat of Iraq's government and U.S. operations.

Earlier Sunday, a parked car bomb exploded in northwest Baghdad as an Iraqi police convoy passed by, killing three Iraqis and wounding 30 others, police said.

The car -- which was remotely detonated -- was parked in Kadhumiya-Aden square, police said.

Also Sunday in Baghdad, gunmen shot and killed two Iraqi police officers, police said.

The officers were on their way to work when gunmen attacked them with small-arms fire in the northwestern neighborhood of al-Iskan, police said.

Al Qaeda in Iraq statement?

A statement Sunday posted on Islamic Web sites and attributed to al Qaeda in Iraq called U.S. efforts in the country "doomed."

The group, led by wanted insurgent Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is behind many deadly attacks against military and civilian targets in Iraq, the U.S. and Iraqi governments say.

The new statement appeared to respond directly to President Bush's weekly radio address Saturday.

In the address, Bush said that "by making their stand in Iraq, the terrorists have made Iraq a vital test for the future security of our country and the free world. We will settle for nothing less than victory." (Full story)

The purported al Qaeda in Iraq statement asked: "What tests for your doomed military forces are you talking about? The test that you failed or the tough test that you've been through in Iraq?"

It also asked: "Who promised you victory, loser?"

"God has promised us, and who is more faithful and credible than God?" the statement said.

It also called Bush a "lying devil" and vowed, "We will break the cross."

Marine killed in Operation Spear

A U.S. Marine was killed and three others wounded Saturday, the Marines said, as Operation Spear continues in Karabila, five miles from the Syrian border in a lawless region of Iraq's Anbar province.

A man with an AK-47 rifle charged down the stairs of a home in Karabila, spraying gunfire and sparking a firefight that left the Marine dead and the others wounded, the Marines said. The man also was killed as he ran out of the house, the Marines said.

The number of American troops killed in the Iraq war stands at 1,719, according to U.S. military reports.

U.S. and Iraqi troops are carrying out a second major offensive in 24 hours in Anbar.

Operation Dagger began Saturday about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. Its mission is to find weapons caches and insurgent hideouts in an area west of Lake Thar-Thar.

Also in Anbar province, American Marines killed 15 insurgents Sunday near Falluja, west of Baghdad, and detained 24 others, the Marines said. No Marines were hurt or killed, a statement said. The Marines said insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades and small arms at the Americans southwest of Falluja.

Other developments

  • An Iraqi special tribunal investigating Saddam Hussein's regime said Sunday that it questioned the man known as "Chemical Ali," a former vice president and six others last week. Among those questioned Thursday was Ali Hassan Al-Majeed, called "Chemical Ali" for allegedly ordering a deadly chemical weapons attack against Kurds in 1988, the tribunal said. Also appearing were Taha Yasin Ramadan, a former vice president, and Abd Hamid Mahmud, a presidential secretary also allegedly involved with the regime's weapons program.
  • North of the capital in Tikrit, a suicide car bomber killed at least two Iraqi soldiers and an Iraqi civilian Sunday at a checkpoint near an Iraqi army base, said an official with the governor's office in the Salaheddin province. Fifteen Iraqi soldiers also were wounded, the official said.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that the success of the U.S. policy in Iraq should be measured in political terms, saying insurgents -- who have increased their attacks in recent months -- "are losing the Iraqi people." "The insurgency cannot continue to exist if it loses the Iraqi people," Rice said on CNN's "Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer." "And with every day, the Iraqi people see their future in their political process, not in some alternative."
  • A mortar attack killed one Iraqi civilian and wounded five others Sunday in the northern city of Mosul, the U.S. military said.
  • Iraqi security forces have arrested a man they say confessed to building 20 car bombs and 60 roadside bombs to attack Iraqi police and soldiers in Baghdad. An Iraqi government statement issued Sunday described Musab Qaseer Abdul Rahman Hassan as a fundamentalist Sunni Muslim connected with al-Zarqawi. Hassan was captured May 26, the government said.
  • CNN's Jane Arraf, Caroline Faraj and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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