BAGHDAD, Iraq – A car bomb exploded in a Baghdad (search) residential neighborhood near the international airport Tuesday, killing three people, including a 3-year-old girl, and wounding six other Iraqis, said Maj. Phil Smith, a U.S. military spokesman.
U.S. troops sealed off the area after the late afternoon explosion, but neither American nor Iraqi security forces were in the area at the time of the blast, witnesses said. Three cars were burned and several shops were damaged in the Amiriya neighborhood.
On Monday, a mortar attack in Baghdad and two assaults on U.S. forces northeast of the capital killed one soldier and wounded nine others, the military said, as militants showed no sign of easing their attacks ahead of next week's transfer of sovereignty.
The recent abductions and attacks appear aimed at undermining the interim Iraqi government set to take power June 30, when the U.S.-led occupation formally ends.
Coalition spokesman Dan Senor said that by week's end, all Iraqi government ministries would be under full Iraqi control.
Iran said Tuesday it plans to prosecute eight British navy sailors serving in Iraq on charges of entering Iranian waters, Iran's state-run television said Tuesday.
The eight were detained in the Shatt-al-Arab waterway on Monday as they were delivering a patrol boat for the new Iraqi Riverine Patrol Service. The waterway runs along the border between Iran and Iraq.
In London, the British government summoned the Iranian ambassador Tuesday and demanded their release. British officials said they were very concerned the sailors had been shown on Iranian TV in blindfolds.
Elsewhere, five Iraqi contractors were killed Monday in an ambush on their three-vehicle convoy 30 miles south of Mosul. The U.S. command said two others were wounded.
U.S. authorities Tuesday released three busloads of prisoners from the notorious Abu Ghraib (search) detention center, bringing the total number set free in the last two months to more than 2,000. The prison is at the center of a scandal over abuse of inmates by U.S. troops.
A military judge Tuesday refused to dismiss charges against Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II, one of seven American soldiers accused in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Frederick had asked for a new Article 32 hearing (search), the military equivalent of a grand jury session.
Accepting Frederick's motion would have been tantamount to dismissing the original charges.
Frederick, of Buckingham, Va., was among three defendants who appeared in court Monday for pretrial hearings, in which the military judge, Col. James Pohl, agreed to let defense attorneys question top U.S. generals in the case.
Pohl also declared the prison a crime scene which must not be destroyed as President Bush had offered.
Pohl rescheduled the hearing for Frederick until next month because his civilian lawyer, Gary Myers, did not show up. But later, Frederick decided he wanted the hearing to be held Tuesday as was his right.
The U.S. Army also scheduled the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing for Spc. Sabrina Harman, the U.S. command said Tuesday. The session, known as an Article 32 hearing, will determine if she will face court-martial. The session will be held Thursday, said a military spokeswoman, Lt. Beatriz Yarrish.
Harman, of Lorton, Va., is a member of the 372nd Military Police Company, a reserve unit from Maryland. She was seen in photographs smiling over a pile of naked prisoners.