President Bush prayed for peace Sunday at an Easter service during a visit to an Army post that has sent thousands of soldiers to war in Iraq.

"I had a chance to reflect on the great sacrifice that our military and their families are making," Bush said outside the chapel after the service. "I prayed for their safety and I prayed for their strength and comfort, and I prayed for peace."

He took no questions from reporters.

For the fourth time in five years, Bush flew 50 miles southwest from his ranch in Crawford to spend Easter morning at this sprawling Army post.

It was his first public appearance since arriving Wednesday in Texas for a spring break. The president was joined by first lady Laura Bush and her mother and his parents.

The menu for their Easter dinner at the ranch included fire-glazed ham, green chili cheese grits souffle, roasted orange molasses sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus, coconut cake and ice cream.

The Easter holiday felt more like one from the Christmas season, with the temperature hovering near freezing.

On Monday, Bush planned to return to promoting his domestic and foreign policy agenda. In the week ahead, he will push his immigration policies, his war-spending bill and his education programs.

Fort Hood is the largest active-duty armored post in the military. It spans 340 square miles and is home to nearly 65,000 soldiers and family members.

The post has contributed thousands of soldiers to the war in Iraq. Its 4th Infantry Division headquarters unit soon will return to Iraq after little more than seven months at home.

In Iraq, a new day brought more violence.

A pickup truck packed with artillery shells was detonated Sunday near a hospital south of Baghdad, killing at least 15 people. Separately, the U.S. military on Sunday announced the deaths of four American soldiers, killed a day earlier in an explosion northeast of Baghdad.

At least 3,274 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war.

U.S. forces also captured a senior Al Qaeda leader and two others in a raid Sunday morning in Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The Al Qaeda figure was linked to several car bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital, the military said in a statement, without naming the captive.