BAGHDAD, Iraq – A car loaded with 300 pounds of explosives blew up Friday near a police station in southwest Baghdad, killing 10 Iraqi civilians and wounding four others, the U.S. military said.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry and al-Yarmuk hospital officials said earlier initial reports showed one person killed and 11 others wounded during the explosion in the al-Doura neighborhood.
However, witnesses said many of the victims appeared to be in a life-threatening condition, and efforts to reach Iraqi officials and hospitals for an update failed because switchboards were shut down for Ramadan (search) festivities.
The car bomb apparently targeted a nearby Iraqi police patrol, the U.S. command said in a statement. Four Iraqi police officers were hurt.
The U.S. military said four Iraqi laborers working in a nearby palm grove died in the blast, while a family of four driving down the road was also killed. Two other bystanders also died in this attack.
The attack came at the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which began Friday.
"This is an act of terrorists," said Lt. Col. James Hutton, a spokesman for the 1st Cavalry Division. "These attacks kill innocent Iraqi people trying to live their lives in peace."
Associated Press Television News footage showed two destroyed police SUVs, a crater caused by the explosion, and a charred engine believed to be that of the exploded car.
Insurgents have been targeting Iraqi security forces, who are seen as collaborators with U.S. forces.