A car bomb exploded Sunday near an Iraqi checkpoint in an open-market area north of Baghdad, killing at least 23 civilians and wounding 25, the U.S. military said.

The military said U.S. and Iraqi forces had secured the area and the wounded had been evacuated to hospitals.

Iraqi police said earlier that a suicide car bomber targeted U.S.-allied fighters and Iraqi security forces at a checkpoint in Yathrib, near Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad.

Police and members of an anti-Al Qaeda group opened fire as the attacker sped toward a joint checkpoint, but he managed to detonate his explosives near some stores about 20 yards away, according to police at the Salahuddin provincial coordination center. Police said eight civilians were killed and 20 wounded.

The differing casualty figures could not immediately be reconciled.