Bomb Targets Iraqi Gov't Workers

US soldiers inspect the site of a suicide attack outside the ministry of oil in Baghdad 26 September 2005. A suicide car bomber blew himself up outside the ministry, killing seven and wounding 27, an interior ministry source said.
Authorities say a suicide car bomber attacked a police checkpoint guarding several government ministries as Iraqi employees arrived at work Monday morning, killing at least seven policemen and three workers.

The blast, which occurred at about 7:50 a.m., also wounded 10 policemen and eight government employees, according to police Capt. Nabil Abdel Qadir.

The employees were just arriving for work at Iraq's oil ministry, irrigation ministry and national Police Academy, including some on a private bus that appeared to be damaged by the blast, Qadir said. In Baghdad, the government work day generally begins at 8 a.m.

Employees at the three government buildings affected by the blast often are searched at the checkpoint before they are allowed to walk to their offices about 100 yards away.

The blast occurred at about 7:50 a.m., at the large checkpoint near Iraq's oil ministry, irrigation ministry and Police Academy, said police Lt. Col. Fuad Asaad.

Employees were just arriving at work, including some on a private bus, Asaad said.

The work day for government workers generally begins at 8 a.m. Employees often are searched at this checkpoint before they are allowed to walk to the complex where their offices are located.

In other recent developments:

  • The U.S. military began on Monday to release 1,000 Iraqi detainees from Abu Ghraib prison at the request of the Iraqi government in honor of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Arab governments often pardon nonviolent offenders during the Ramadan, which is expected to begin on Oct. 4 or 5. Each year, the start of the holiday is decided by senior Muslim clerics after they sight the sliver of the moon appears in the sky.
  • Armed men pulled off a daring armored car robbery in Baghdad, killing two guards and escaping with $850,000; a suicide car bomber slammed into a convoy carrying Interior Ministry commandos, killing seven of them and two civilians; and in Sadr City, two separate bicycle bombings in town markets killed at least seven people and wounded dozens.
  • Senator John McCain says an allegation that GIs systematically tortured Iraqi detainees with baseball bats and chemicals, from 2003 into 2004, is hurting the U.S. image. The Human Rights Watch report is based on interviews with a captain and two sergeants who served with the 82nd Airborne Division near Fallujah. Speaking on ABC's "This Week," McCain said if the allegations are true, "we've got to have it stopped." The Army has already opened an investigation.
  • Police also reported finding at least seven bodies in four separate locations in Baghdad - six men who had been bound and shot, including one identified as a policeman, and a woman in her 20s who appeared to have been strangled and tortured.
  • In Samarra, three mortar shells landed in a residential district. One shell hit a house, killing seven members of one family, including children.
  • A U.S. soldier died Sunday and two others were injured when their vehicle rolled over while on patrol near the Jordanian border. That death raises to 1,914 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
  • With a large patchwork American flag serving as a backdrop, about 400 people turned out in Washington Sunday for a rally in support of U.S. troops in Iraq. Turnout was much lower than organizers had hoped. Saturday, about 100,000 people turned out for an anti-war rally, also in D.C.
  • The Reno, Nevada, City Council will be asked on Wednesday to pass a resolution urging President Bush to immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. Anti-war activist Patricia Axelrod says public opinion polls show declining support for the war in Iraq and it's time to bring home the troops. Nevada, she adds, has contributed about $1.7 billion toward the war, or $727 per Nevadan. Earlier this month, Chicago joined other cities, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Calif., and 50 communities in Vermont, in calling for troop withdrawal.