Seventy five people were killed and more than 200 wounded when a truck bomb struck a Shiite mosque Tuesday in central Baghdad. About 10,000 U.S. soldiers northeast of the capital used heavily armored Stryker and Bradley fighting vehicles to battle their way into an al-Qaida sanctuary.
The troops, under cover of attack helicopters, killed at least 22 insurgents in the offensive, the U.S. military said.
The thunderous explosion at the Khillani mosque in the capital's commercial area of Sinak sent smoke billowing over concrete buildings. On Sunday, officials lifted a curfew aimed at preventing retaliatory violence after last week's bombing of a Shiite mosque in Samarra.
Gunfire erupted shortly after the blast, which a police officer said went off near the Khillani mosque in the commercial area of Sinak.
A police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns, said the car that exploded was parked in a lot near the mosque and it damaged the outer wall of the building.
Police and hospital officials said at least 75 people were killed and 204 were wounded, adding that the toll could rise as bodies were pulled from the debris.