A suicide car bomber killed at least 10 Iraqis in an attack near government buildings in Baghdad on Monday, police said, raising this week's death toll from violence in and around the Iraqi capital to 36.
U.S. forces and the Iraqi government tried on Monday to reach out to moderates in Iraq, especially in the Sunni minority, by beginning to release 1,000 detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in honor of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins next week.
Arab governments often pardon nonviolent offenders during Ramadan, but the move also appeared to be part of the Iraqi government's effort to persuade citizens to vote in the Oct. 15 national referendum on Iraq's draft constitution, especially the Sunni minority.
The suicide car bomb targeted a police checkpoint guarding Iraq's oil ministry, irrigation ministry and national Police Academy, and a private bus carrying 24 oil ministry employees and their driver, said police Capt. Nabil Abdel Qadir.
Seven policemen died and three people aboard the bus, Qadir said. Thirty-six Iraqis were wounded, 14 of them policemen and 22 of them bus passengers, he said.
Government workers often are searched at the checkpoint before they are allowed to walk to their offices about 100 yards (meters) away, according to the AP.