The plane, flown by the Belgium-based delivery company DHL, was trailing thick smoke and missing part of its wingtip as it made an emergency landing at Baghdad International Airport. A military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the plane was struck by a SAM-7 surface-to-air missile, and the damage appeared consistent with effects of such an explosion. A photograph taken from the ground showed flames at the spot where the ailerons and flaps meet on the left wing's trailing edge.
Insurgents have used such shoulder-launched weapons to shoot down military helicopters in central Iraq. The military said it was still investigating the cause of the fire. In the past, planes have been targeted — but not hit — by rockets as they went in and out of Baghdad airport, a main hub for U.S. forces and humanitarian supplies, the military said.
The attacks on the police stations in Khan Bani Saad and nearby Baqouba — which occurred within a half hour of each other — came after U.S. intelligence reports warning of an upsurge in attacks near the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which comes to a close in a few days.
In Khan Bani Saad, a market town on the northeastern outskirts of Baghdad, 10 people were killed, including six policemen, three civilians and the vehicle's driver, according to Capt. Ryan McCormick of the 4th Infantry Division. Iraqi police said one of the dead was a 5-year-old girl. Ten people were wounded, McCormick said.
In Baqouba, about 12 miles to northeast of here, three policemen and the driver were killed. One policeman was missing, Lt. Wisam Ahmed said. Officials said at least 10 civilians were hurt.
In other developments::
There have been six vehicle bombings in Iraq since Wednesday, mostly targeting Iraqis who support the coalition.
"It is clear that the terrorists have targeted Iraqis, the very Iraqis who are trying to improve the security in Iraq and the lives of ordinary Iraqis," coalition spokesman Charles Heatly said.
U.S. military officials said they were warned by intelligence reports to expect an upsurge in attacks, particularly in the province that includes Baqouba, toward the end of Ramadan. Lt. Col. Steve Russell, a battalion commander in the 4th Infantry Division, said U.S. intelligence officials fear that religious extremists may try to commit "good works" at the end of the holy month by attacking Americans.
Khan Bani Saad and Baqouba are part of the so-called "Sunni Triangle" north and west of the capital that has seen fierce resistance to the U.S.-led occupation.
The DHL plane had been headed from Baghdad to Bahrain, with three crewmembers on board, when it turned around to make an emergency landing at the Iraqi capital's international airport, said Xavier De Buck, a DHL spokesman in Brussels, Belgium.
After the emergency landing, DHL canceled its next flight into Baghdad, De Buck said. The delivery company has been making two or three flights a day into Baghdad since June.
The airport, which has been turned into a base for U.S. forces, has not been fully reopened to commercial flights, but civilian freight carriers operate there. The only commercial airline serving Baghdad, Royal Jordanian, said it would suspend flights for three days, but didn't give a reason. AirServ, a South African organization that flies mainly aid workers, said it would continue flights to Baghdad.
In recent weeks, insurgents have shot down five U.S. helicopters using shoulder-fired missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. About 40 U.S. servicemen were killed and nearly two dozen injured.
The car bombings occurred a day after guerrillas fired more than a dozen rockets from donkey carts at the Oil Ministry and two hotels used by foreign journalists and civilian defense contractors.
One civilian contractor was wounded when the rockets exploded at the Palestine Hotel and at the nearby Sheraton. There were no casualties at the Oil Ministry, which was closed for the Muslim day of prayer.
The attacks on some of the most heavily guarded buildings in the center of the capital appeared designed to demonstrate that the guerrillas retain the ability to strike at will despite the overwhelming presence of U.S. and Iraqi security forces.
"They're trying to break our will. They're trying to seize the headlines ... but they're militarily insignificant," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military deputy director for operations, said of Friday's attacks.
However, Kimmitt acknowledged the attacks point to "a very clever enemy who knows that we don't have the best intelligence in the world."