Baghdad Market Blast Kills 17

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A car bomb exploded near a busy market and cinema in eastern Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 17 people and wounding 65, police said. Two car bombs also struck in the northern town of Kirkuk. Two Marines were reported killed in ongoing Operation Matador in western Iraq.

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:

  • Lawyers for Spc. Sabrina Harman, who posed for some of the most notorious photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, will start trying to convince a military jury that she didn't do anything wrong at the Iraqi prison. The first peek at Harman's defense will likely come as the trial begins Thursday with jury selection and opening statements.
  • The president of the International Narcotics Control Board says drug traffickers from Afghanistan have begun using Iraq to get to Jordan, where they send drugs to Europe and Asia.
  • The brother of kidnapped provincial Gov. Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the kidnappers were offering to release the governor in exchange for three al-Zarqawi followers captured by U.S. forces in Qaim. The U.S. military said it does not negotiate with terrorists.
  • A security firm said an eyewitness reported that a Japanese worker taken hostage in Iraq may have suffered fatal wounds. The international security company Hart said in a statement on its Web site that it has not given up hope that Akihito Saito, 44, may be alive.

    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.