A surge of suicide car bombings south and north of Baghdad on Monday morning killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 40 others, authorities reported. Two of three attacks were aimed at U.S. military targets, but there were no immediate reports on possible U.S casualties.
A suicide truck bomber struck a police station in Beiji, 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad, at 8:30 a.m., killing at least six civilians and wounding 12 others, a police captain reported, speaking on condition of anonymity.
American troops share the post with the local police, on the main road in central Beiji. There was no immediate word of U.S. casualties.
About 45 minutes later, another suicide car bomb exploded at a joint U.S.-Iraqi army checkpoint in central Siniyah, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of Beiji, killing two Iraqi soldiers and wounding three others, an Iraqi army officer reported.
Again, there was no report of American casualties, although eyewitnesses said a U.S. Humvee vehicle was damaged in the blast. American aircraft quickly appeared over the Beiji area and attacked suspected insurgent targets, eyewitnesses said.
In Baghdad, the U.S. command said it had no immediate information on the attacks.
Earlier in the morning, a suicide car bomber struck a checkpoint near the governor's offices in the predominantly Shiite southern city of Hillah, killing at least eight people and wounding 31, police said.
It was the second such attack in Hillah in three days. A parked car packed with explosives blew up on Saturday in the center of the city, 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, killing two people.
Three of the eight killed in the 6:30 a.m. explosion were policemen, as were at least four of the wounded, said a spokesman for the provincial police department.
The attacker drove his car into a checkpoint that leads to the headquarters of the Babil provincial government.
Police officer Baha Abdul-Sadda, 21, said he saw a red sedan speeding toward the headquarters, surprising police at the checkpoint and on the building's roof.
"The suicide bomber took advantage of the early hour and intended to hit the metal barrier to get inside to hit the building, but the car exploded prematurely at the metal barrier," he said. Abdul-Sadda, who suffered a head injury when thrown against a wall by the blast, spoke from his hospital bed.
The blast damaged the concrete walls surrounding the main building and shattered glass, but relatively few people were in the area because of the early hour, limiting the casualties, the police spokesman said.
Hillah, the capital of Babil, has been the target of some of the deadliest car bomb attacks by suspected Sunni Muslim extremists in the four years of insurgency and sectarian killings in Iraq.
Many police and other authorities in Iraq speak with the news media only on condition of anonymity, because of security concerns or because they are not authorized to divulge information.