New blast hits central Baghdad

A suicide car bomber killed at least five people today in a strike against Iraqi interior ministry offices in central Baghdad.

BAGHDAD // A suicide car bomber killed at least five people today in a strike against Iraqi interior ministry offices in central Baghdad, a day after several prominent hotels were also hit by suicide attacks, officials said. This week's bombings ? all against prominent and heavily fortified targets ? dealt yet another blow to an Iraqi government struggling to answer for security lapses that have allowed bombers to carry out a number of massive attacks in the heart of the capital since August.

Police and hospital officials said the bomber in today's attack tried to drive through a police checkpoint and the blast walls protecting the criminal evidence offices at Tahariyat Square in the central neighborhood of Karradah. The officials said those killed included two policeman and a civilian. They say at least 13 people were wounded. The office targeted mainly deals with the data collected during criminal investigations, including fingerprints and other pieces of evidence. The office, which has not been the target of major attacks before, is located next to the interior ministry's major crimes office, which deals with terrorism cases. The attack comes one day after a series of bombings targeting hotels favoured by Westerners. The toll from those blasts continued to rise, with 41 people confirmed killed and up to 106 reported injured, police and health officials said. The bombings yesterday targeted the Sheraton Ishtar Hotel, Babylon Hotel and Hamra Hotel, which are popular with Western journalists and foreign security contractors.

* AP