Iraqi army: 22 killed in Baghdad car bomb

Iraqis stand at the site of a car bombing in the northern Baghdad Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah on Saturday. At least 18 people were killed and 25 were wounded in the blast, the U.S. military said.Karim Kadim / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

At least 22 people were killed after a bomb tore through a busy square in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad on Saturday, Iraqi army officials said. More than 50 others were wounded in the attack.

An Iraqi soldier and two other people were killed in a separate bombing south of the capital, police said.

Initial Iraqi police reports of the blast at al-Zahra square, in the northern Baghdad Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah, said it was a mortar round. But three Iraqi police officers later said it was a parked car bomb, apparently targeting a taxi stand.

U.S. Army Capt. Charles Calio said initial military reports also indicate it was a car bomb.

Iraqi police initially reported 12 were killed and 20 wounded. The officers all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information. Each gave slightly different casualty tolls.

Conflicting casualty tolls are common in the chaotic aftermath of bombings in Iraq.

U.S. allies killed
Also Saturday, an Iraqi soldier and two other people were killed when a car bomb exploded as they were trying to defuse it in Musayyib, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, according to local police.

The two nonmilitary victims were members of the local awakening council, also known as Sons of Iraq, one of several names used to refer to the Sunni insurgents and tribesmen who have turned against al-Qaida in Iraq, joining the U.S. military in the fight against the terror group, a police officer said on condition of anonymity.

He said 10 other people were wounded in the blast.

Although violence has dropped by more than 80 percent around Iraq and particularly Baghdad, devastating attacks still occur. The U.S. military has said attacks are down from 180 a day last year to about 10 a day this year.

The last major bombing was on Dec. 17: on that day, 18 people were killed and 52 others wounded when a car bomb exploded in eastern Baghdad followed by a roadside bomb minutes later as police rushed to the scene, according to police and hospital officials. The U.S. military reported nine killed and 43 wounded.

On Dec. 11, a suicide bomber killed 55 people in a packed restaurant near the northern city of Kirkuk where Kurdish officials and Arab tribal leaders were trying to reconcile their differences over control of the oil-rich region.