A homicide car bomber linked to Al Qaeda (search) killed 13 people near Baghdad's Green Zone on Monday as clashes resumed in Fallujah, a one-time insurgent stronghold that American forces believed they had conquered.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military announced that seven U.S. Marines were killed in combat in Anbar province in western Iraq on Sunday.

On the first anniversary of Saddam Hussein's (search) capture, an explosive-laden vehicle waiting in line to enter the international area at its western Harthiyah gate exploded as it drove toward the checkpoint, Iraqi police said.

Besides the fatalities, Dr. Mohammed Abdel Satar of Baghdad's Yarmouk Hospital (search) said 15 people were wounded in the bombing. The U.S. military said there were no troop injuries.

The Green Zone (search) is the heavily fortified area that housed the interim Iraqi government and U.S. embassy. It has been the scene of frequent attacks by insurgents during the past 18 months, killing and wounding dozens of people in car bombings or mortar barrages.

Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq group claimed responsibility for the bombing in a statement posted on an Islamic Internet site regularly used by militants.

"On this blessed day a lion from the [group's] Martyrs' Brigade has gone out to strike at a gathering of apostates and Americans in the Green Zone," the group said in a statement posted on an Islamic Web site.

The Marines who were killed Sunday died in separate incidents in a vast region comprising the battleground cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. The fighting was the deadliest for U.S. forces since eight Marines were killed by a car bomb outside Fallujah on Oct. 30. The deaths brought to nearly 1,300 the number of American troops killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

In other violence, in the town of Mishahda, 25 miles north of Baghdad gunmen attacked an Iraqi National Guard patrol killing three soldiers and wounding thee others. The attackers fled, witnesses said.

And in the southern city of Basra, insurgents fired mortar shells on Monday at the British consulate but caused no casualties, a spokeswoman said.

Iraq's interim President Ghazi al-Yawer said in an interview broadcast Monday that the U.S.-led coalition was wrong to dismantle the Iraqi security forces.

"Definitely dissolving the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior was a big mistake at that time," al-Yawer told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

He said it would have been more effective to screen out former regime loyalists than to rebuild from scratch.

"As soon as we have efficient security forces that we can depend on we can see the beginning of the withdrawal of forces from our friends and partners and I think it doesn't take years, it will take months," he told the BBC in London.

U.S. forces retook Fallujah from the insurgents in a bloody battle last month in which hundreds died, including at least 54 Americans.

At the time, U.S. commanders claimed the action had broken the back of the insurgency in the mainly Sunni Muslim areas of western Iraq, but fighting in the region has continued.

Anniversary of Saddam's Capture

On Sunday, a lawyer for one of ex-dictator Saddam Hussein's top aides said a number of top leaders from the former regime had stopped taking meals in protest against the conditions of their detention and upcoming trials.

In Jordan, Saddam's attorneys released a statement ahead of Monday's first anniversary of his capture saying U.S. and Iraqi forces were holding the former president illegally.

"It was more of a forced abduction that later became compulsory concealment and solitary confinement, acts rejected by all international conventions," said a statement released by the team, which cited human rights conventions Washington allegedly had violated.

Saddam's lawyers were appointed by his wife, Sajida, but have not been able to contact their client. None were at his side when he was arraigned July 1 in Baghdad on preliminary charges, including killing rival politicians, gassing Kurds, invading Kuwait in 1990 and suppressing popular uprisings in 1991.

In Saddam's birthplace of Tikrit, a bomb placed under the car of an Iraqi National Guard officer, Capt. Khalil Hassan Hammoud, exploded prematurely Monday, injuring the officer's mother, spokesman Master Sgt. Robert Powell said.

In Mosul, U.S. soldiers detained two suspected bomb makers and uncovered a large cache of weapons and munitions, including plastic explosives, dynamite, rocket propelled grenade rounds, anti-tank mines and remote detonation devices, the military said in a statement.

U.S. Forces Pound Fallujah

On Sunday, American jets pounded parts of Fallujah with missiles as insurgents fought running battles with coalition forces. At least 10 precision-guided bombs were dropped on suspected rebel positions.

"We are still running into some of these die-hard insurgents that have either come back into the city or have been laying low," spokesman Lt. Lyle Gilbert said Monday. "As we are bringing in contractors to help with the reconstruction of Fallujah, this (fighting) slows the process down."

It was unclear whether the latest Marine deaths were connected with those clashes. The military said only that seven Marines died in two incidents while conducting "security and stabilization operations" in Anbar province.

In the nearby town of Ramadi, 30 miles west of Fallujah, insurgents launched several "indirect fire" attacks on U.S. Marine bases on Sunday, resulting in retaliatory artillery and mortar fire by American troops, Marine spokesman Capt. Brad Gordon said.

U.S. artillery fire killed one woman in the city, said Dr. Di'a al-Hiti from Ramadi Hospital.

At least 10 explosions were heard in the city early Monday, but no details were immediately available on their source nor whether there were any casualties.

U.S. forces retook Fallujah from the insurgents in a bloody battle last month in which hundreds died, including at least 54 Americans. The city had fallen under the rule of radical clerics and their mujahedeen fighters after Marines lifted a three-week siege of the city in April.

At the time, U.S. commanders claimed the action had broken the back of the insurgency in the mainly Sunni Muslim areas of western Iraq and that Iraqi security forces would start being phased in to take over, but fighting in the region has continued.

"We have come light years from April when they (Iraqi security forces) refused to even come out to Fallujah," Marines Lt. Col. Dan Wilson said. "We are in the process of phasing more ISF into Fallujah ... (and) are better equipped to intuitively know who belongs in the city, and who does not."

It was unclear whether the latest Marine deaths were connected with those clashes. The military said only that seven Marines died in two incidents while conducting "security and stabilization operations" in Anbar province.

Earlier, an eighth Marine was reported killed Sunday in Anbar, but the military later said the death had been included among the seven announced Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.