A suicide driver burst through the gates of a police station in the poor Shiite Muslim neighborhood of Sadr City in northeastern Baghdad and detonated his car bomb, killing three policeman and five civilians and injuring up to 45, the Associated Press reported.
The car bombing happened at about 8:30 a.m. local time, while 50 officers were outside the police compound waiting to collect their pay. Police opened fire on the white Oldsmobile as it came plowing through the compound, crashing into a parked car before exploding.
“I ran and got hit in the leg. When I looked back, all I could see was fire,” officer Khalid Sattar Jabar said from his hospital bed, according to the AP.
A gaping hole, 10 feet across and 4 feet deep, mangled police cars and debris remain in the courtyard and at the bomb site in front of the one-story building, an Army officer said.
The driver and passenger in the car died.
Like the other attacks that have plagued the area in recent months, nobody has taken responsibility for the bombing.
Some residents blamed ultraorthodox Wahhabi Sunni Muslims, who are the religious enemies of the Shiites; others blamed Saddam Hussein’s Baathists. Some Iraqis blamed the American occupiers.
“This is all the fault of the Americans. They didn’t catch Saddam,” a woman outside of the hospital told and AP reporter.
In other violence on Thursday, a 4th Infantry Division soldier was killed in a grenade attack on a U.S. convoy in Baqouba, 30 miles northeast of Baghdad.
The death toll for American soldiers killed in hostile fire since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1 is now 92. Since the war began on March 20, 324 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq.
In a third attack on Thursday, a Spanish diplomat was shot to death outside his house in the Mansur neighborhood in Baghdad, home to many embassies and diplomats. Jose Antonio Bernal Gomez, 34, was killed when four men came to his door at about 8 a.m., one of whom appeared to be a Shiite Muslim cleric.
The men tried to drag Bernal out of his house, but he escaped. The men chased him for nearly 50 yards. Bernal was 10 yards from a busy highway when the men shot him in the head, and he collapsed on the street, Reuters reported.
Bernal was an air force sergeant, who was attached to Spain’s National Intelligence Center, AP reported.