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Car Bombs Raise Death Toll in Iraq

Two parked car bombs killed six people Monday and wounded another 25 when they exploded on a busy merchant street in Balad, a town north of Baghdad, a hospital official said.

The explosions were just 50 yards from each other and detonated five minutes apart, said Qasim al-Qaisi, director of the main hospital Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad. There was no information on the identities of the victims, or on who may have planted the bombs in the predominantly Shiite town.

The attacks came as U.S.-led forces continued to capitalize on information obtained after the strike that killed terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

In the latest move, coalition forces raided a house near where Zarqawi was targeted, killing nine people, including two children, the military said.

Local residents accused the Americans of targeting civilians and a man wearing a white dishdasha held up the charred body of a toddler whose head had been blown in half. The Iraqis screamed "Allahu akbar" or "God is Great" as they loaded two wooden coffins onto pickup trucks.

CountryWatch: Iraq

The military said coalition forces received enemy machine gun fire from a rooftop after arriving at the objective and two people with AK-47s had been seen fleeing the area just prior to the assault.

"Coalition aircraft supporting the ground force immediately suppressed the enemy fire, killing seven," the military said in a statement. "Following the assault, coalition troops discovered two children had been killed. One child was wounded and evacuated for treatment."

It also said three terror suspects were wounded and detained in the raid near Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. Coalition forces seized rocket propelled grenade launcher, five rockets, nine AK-47 assault rifles and 20 loaded ammunition magazines.

Earlier, a suicide car bomber plowed into a gas station in northern Iraq, killing four civilians and wounding more than 40, police Brig. Gen. Abdul-Hamid Khalaf said.

A bomb also struck a minivan of workers in southern Baghdad, killing six people and wounding 10, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Elsewhere, a roadside bomb detonated next to a police patrol east of Kirkuk, but missed and struck a civilian car. One person was killed in the explosion, two more were injured, police said.