Suicide attack kills 10 Iraqis

A suicide bomber attacked a crowd of people waiting outside a heavily guarded court building in Baghdad on Thursday, killing 10 Iraqis and wounding 52 police said.

All were civilians except two policemen who were wounded, police added.

Police first said the attack was caused by a car bomb targeting a three-car police convoy in the area, but later said it was caused by a man with explosives hidden beneath his clothing.

The man set them off in a crowd of police officers and civilians waiting outside the civil court, said police Lt. Thair Mahmoud.

The officers were guarding the building and many of the civilians were meeting just outside it with paralegals writing the petitions the civilians planned to submit to the court.

The blast occurred at 9:45 a.m. on Palestine Street, a major road in a mixed Sunni-Shiite area of eastern Baghdad, said. It was powerful enough to smash the windows of some nearby shops.

Firefighters in yellow helmets rushed to the scene and were using hoses to clean blood stains from the sidewalk and street outside the court.

Shootings in Baghdad and other areas also killed six Iraqis, including a Shiite tribal leader and an Iraqi army officer, and U.S. forces reportedly were involved in two other attacks.

U.S. aircraft bombed two houses in Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, killing 13 Iraqis and wounding four, said police Lt. Ahmed al-Dulaimi and Dr. Ali al-Obeidi at Ramadi General Hospital.

In Baghdad, a roadside bomb hit a U.S. military convoy on a service road near airport road, sending a large plume of black smoke up into the air. Witnesses said one soldier was wounded and evacuated by helicopter.

The U.S. Command said it had no immediate information about either attack.

Iraq's Interior Ministry also updated the number of Iraqis whose bodies were found in the country on Wednesday to 43, many of them in the capital. They were apparent victims of death squads that kidnap civilians of rival Muslim sects, torture them, and dump their bodies.

Lately, Iraq's violence has shifted mainly from attacks by insurgents on U.S. and Iraqi forces to carefully targeted murders of Iraqi. Such sectarian violence by death squads targeting Shiite and Sunni civilians sharply increased after the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra, a city 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

Sunni-led insurgents also have been boldly attacking fellow Sunni Arabs who cooperate with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government by joining Iraq's military or its police forces.

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber cloaked in explosives killed two policemen and 13 police recruits gathered in Fallujah, a city surrounded by U.S. Marine checkpoints. In a nearby town, three newly recruited Sunni soldiers from the U.S.-trained Iraqi army were found slain.

The suicide attack outside the main police station in Fallujah occurred a day after the governor of Anbar province, which includes Fallujah, narrowly escaped assassination. A suicide bomber exploded his vehicle near Maamoun Sami Rashid al-Alwani's convoy in Ramadi, killing 10 people. The governor was not injured, U.S. officials said, reports the AP.

I.L.