The explosion of the parked car in Baghdad also set fire to a nearby apartment and about 15 vehicles parked in the New Baghdad area of the capital, said police 1st Lt. Mazin Saeed.
The bomb killed at least 17 people and wounded 65, said police Lt. Col. Ahmed Aboud. He said the wounded included woman and children.
An enraged crowd of about 150 people turned their anger on police and journalists, beating at least two Iraqi photographers. Police and U.S. troops fired in the air to disperse the crowd, according to an Associated Press photographer at the scene.
In other developments:
Attacks by insurgents continued in other areas of Iraq, following a wave of bombs and gunfire that killed at least 69 people and wounded 160 Wednesday — pushing the death toll from insurgent violence to more than 400 in less than two weeks.
In the latest insurgent violence, Brig. Gen. Iyad Imad Mahdi was shot and killed as he drove to work at the Ministry of Defense. Col. Fadhil Muhammed Mobarak was shot and killed as he traveled to the Interior Ministry, where he led its police control room, police said.
Two car bombs also exploded in the northern city of Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, police said. One blast occurred near a Shiite mosque, killing two people and wounding two, said police Capt. Sarhad Talabani.
The other exploded at a site where explosives experts were dismantling a roadside bomb that residents had found, said police Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qader. Two of the experts were wounded by the blast, which also destroyed nearby vehicles, Qader said.
The latest violence underscored how intense the fight for Iraq's future has become since the United States declared the end of major combat two years ago and since Iraqis voted in the country's first democratic elections in January.
Insurgents averaged about 70 attacks a day at the start of May, up from 30-40 in February and March, said Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq.