A car apparently driven by a suicide bomber exploded Monday in front of a U.S. observation post in central Iraq, sending up a huge fireball and damaging buildings and cars on a main road. There were no reports of U.S. casualties.

The front end and two wheels were all that remained of the car, which appeared to have been driven by a suicide bomber, officials said.

The bombing was part of a coordinated attack by insurgents, who fired mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at several sites occupied by Marines in the center of the city, which is 70 miles west of Baghdad.

The Marines fired back, and a U.S. Army tank blew off chunks of a mosque minaret, where gunmen were believed to be holed up. Fighting lasted about 90 minutes.