updated 1/31/2007 8:23:20 AM ET 2007-01-31T13:23:20

Two parked car bombs struck simultaneously in separate areas in Baghdad Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding 15, police said.

One of the blasts was targeting a transit area in central Baghdad where people can catch minibuses to predominantly Shiite neighborhoods in the capital. The attack occurred at 12:45 p.m. on Jamhuriyah Street near the busy Shorja market, killing four people and wounding 12 others, police said.

About the same time, another car packed with explosives blew up in the religiously mixed neighborhood of Maamoun in western Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding three others, police said, adding the target of the attack was not immediately known.

Insurgents have stepped up bombings in the capital in recent weeks as they seek to maximize the number of people killed before a planned U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown gets under way.

Shorja, one of Iraq’s largest markets, has been struck frequently by bombings, including one on Nov. 21 that killed 25 civilians.

A car bomb also struck a predominantly Shiite area in eastern Baghdad earlier Wednesday, killing one person and wounding six, police said.

The explosion occurred at 10 a.m. after the driver parked the car near a currency exchange office in the Amin district in New Baghdad neighborhood, then walked away.

“A seemingly normal person parked this car and told us that he would not be long,” said the owner of the currency exchange who identified himself as Abu Talal. “When that person disappeared for more than 20 minutes, we tried to call the police but the car exploded as we were trying to do so.”

Shop owners in Baghdad often insist that motorists get permission before parking their cars due to the frequent bombings that hit the capital, which is facing rising sectarian violence.

Police found the body of one person killed thrown into a nearby alley by the force of the blast, while six others were wounded. The blast also damaged several nearby shops.

Bomber in oil truck blows self up
In other violence, a suicide bomber driving an oil truck blew himself up after he was stopped at a checkpoint near an Iraqi army headquarters north of Baghdad on Wednesday, wounding 9 soldiers, a spokesman said.

The attacker apparently planned to drive the truck into the compound in Muqdadiyah, but guards stopped him at the checkpoint about 100 yards away at about 9:15 a.m. He detonated his explosives belt as he got out of the vehicle, causing it to explode as well, army Col. Ibrahim Hussein said, adding that nine soldiers were wounded.

The blast came just over a month after a suicide bomber struck a police station in Muqdadiyah, 60 miles north of Baghdad, killing seven officers.

A parked car bomb also struck a police patrol in the northern city of Mosul at about 10:30 a.m., killing one policeman and wounding two others, Brig. Abdul Karim al-Jibouri said.

Iraqi security forces have been frequent targets of insurgent attacks as they are seen as collaborates with U.S.-led forces.

Elsewhere, six tortured bodies were found blindfolded and with their hands and legs bound in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, hospital officials said.

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