A car bomb (search) exploded Wednesday outside a police station in central Iraq, killing at least three people, including the driver, and injuring nearly 30 others, Iraqi police and witnesses said. The U.S. military said five people were killed.

Iraqi police Col. Salam Omar said the driver tried to enter the walled compound of the one-story station at about 8:20 a.m. When he ignored orders to stop, guards opened fire and the car exploded, heavily damaging the wall and shattering windows at the station and in shops across the street.

The driver of the car and two bystanders were killed, said Youssef Ahmed, a nurse of the Baqouba (search) Hospital. Twenty-eight people, including Iraqi policemen and civilians, were injured.

A U.S. military spokeswoman in Tikrit (search), Maj. Josslyn Aberle, said five people were killed and 29 injured -- all Iraqis.

Omar blamed the attack on "cowardly terrorists."

Police Lt. Col. Nabil Ali in Baqouba said he was standing near the gate of the police station and saw the driver, who appeared to be in his 20s, approach the station.

"The guards asked him to stop, and when he didn't they started shooting at him and the car exploded," the officer said.

Mustafa Jalal, a civil defense officer, said at least 10 of the injured were police officers.

Iraqi police and government institutions have been the frequent target of attacks by insurgents battling the U.S.-led occupation force and its allies.

On Friday, a bomb near a Shiite Muslim mosque here killed five worshippers and wounded dozens more. A second bomb rigged inside a car was found and defused before it could explode at another Shiite mosque.

In November, homicide bombers struck police stations in Baqouba, 40 miles northeast of Baghdad, and in the nearby town of Khan Bani Saad. At least three policemen and the driver were killed in the Baqouba blast.