A car bomb targeting an Australian military convoy exploded near the Australian Embassy Monday, killing three Iraqis and wounding eight others, according to Iraqi and coalition officials.
Australia's defense force spokesman said in Canberra (search) that three Australian troops were slightly injured in the attack near that country's embassy in Baghdad — the first such direct attack on Australian troops in Iraq
The attack took place several hundred yards from the Australian Embassy.
U.S. Maj. Scott Stanger told Associated Press Television News that the explosives were hidden inside a taxi parked on the side of the road, and the bomb detonated when the convoy drove by. Witnesses on the scene said the burning hulk of the car and scattered debris littered the area.
A huge cloud of smoke was seen rising over the western bank of the Tigris river. U.S. helicopters were seen flying over the area.
The U.S. military reported two separate incidents Monday involving two convoys that were hit by roadside bombs in Baghdad's northern and western districts but said no casualties were reported. On armored vehicle had slight damage.
Last week, the Australian government announced that the embassy would be moved early next year from its current location to the heavily fortified Green Zone (search), which houses the U.S. and Iraqi leadership.
A car bomb blast on Oct. 17 hit a cafe close to the Australian Embassy, killing six people. No Australians were hurt in that blast, which authorities believe was aimed at an Iraqi police convoy.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard is a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq. He sent 2,000 elite troops to join the invasion last year and still has 920 military personnel in and around Iraq.