BAGHDAD, Iraq – A fuel tanker became a deadly weapon in the hands of a homicide bomber in Baghdad on Monday as the explosives-laden truck sped toward a police station and burst into flames, killing nine and wounding about 60, Iraqi officials and witnesses said.
The latest in a string of deadly attacks on police, the 8 a.m. blast outside the precinct house in the Seidiyeh neighborhood of southwest Baghdad came as officers gathered to receive their daily assignments.
"We were all standing in a row, listening to our officer as he gave us our assignment for the day," said Mehdi Salah Abed Ali, 32, lying in a bed at al-Yarmuk hospital, a bandage around his leg. "There were many policemen standing in the square when the tanker exploded."
The tanker's presence in the industrial area, close to car-repair and electrical workshops, did not raise concerns until it started speeding toward the police station, said Ahmed Nouri, a worker at a nearby car wash.
It exploded about 500 feet from the fenced-in, two-story police station.
Insurgents throughout Iraq have used car bombs, roadside bombs and other weapons to target police, whom they view as collaborators with U.S. forces.
Also in Iraq on Monday:
— The Defense Ministry said militants killed Essam al-Dijaili (search), the head of the military's supply department, in a drive-by shooting as he walked into his house in Baghdad. As Dijaili was carrying dinner into his home Sunday night, four gunmen opened fire, killing him and his bodyguard, said Mishal al-Sarraf, an adviser to the defense minister.
"He was killed in cold blood by the evil hands of the followers of the former regime," al-Sarraf said.
The assassination was the latest attack on senior Iraqi officials. Assailants killed the governor of Nineveh province last week and tried unsuccessfully to assassinate the country's justice minister.
— A senior commander of Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard (search) suspected of planning and financing attacks against Iraqis, Iraqi security forces and coalition troops has been captured, U.S. commanders told FOX News Monday.
Iraqi national guardsmen and coalition forces nabbed Sufyan Maher Hassan in a raid Friday in Tikrit.
Hassan was the Republican Guard commander responsible for units defending Baghdad during the war and is a relative of Saddam.
— The Arabic-language news channel Al-Jazeera said Iraqi insurgents have freed an Egyptian truck driver they had been holding hostage. Alsayeid Mohammed Alsayeid Algarabawi was reportedly captured on July 6, when a group calling itself the Iraqi Legitimate Resistance released a video saying it was holding him.
Al-Jazeera cited sources at the Egyptian Embassy in Baghdad. The report had not been independently confirmed.
— Prime Minister Iyad Allawi (search) issued a decree reopening a controversial newspaper that had been closed by U.S. officials in March, sparking months of fighting between U.S. forces and fighters loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
The weekly Al-Hawza was the mouthpiece of al-Sadr's "Sadrist" movement, routinely carrying his fiery sermons on its front page along with articles sharply critical of the U.S.-led occupation.
Allawi, himself a Shiite, ordered the paper reopened Sunday in an effort to show his "absolute belief in the freedom of the press," his office said in a statement. The decree appeared designed to broaden Allawi's base of support as his government struggles for legitimacy.
— The Philippines (search) said that it completed the withdrawal of its peacekeeping contingent from Iraq, meeting a demand by Iraqi insurgents threatening to behead a Filipino hostage but defying opposition from Washington.
Six cars filled with waving Filipino soldiers left their camp in Hillah, south of Baghdad, after paying an "exit call" on the Polish commander at the base.
Foreign Secretary Delia Albert said they would travel by road to Kuwait, then take a commercial flight home.
"Before the end of this day, all members of the Philippine humanitarian contingent will be out of Iraq," she said in a nationally televised statement.
Some allies have sharply criticized the move, saying it would only encourage more kidnappings.
— The body of Lt. Col. Nafi al-Kubaisi, the police chief of the town of Heet, was discovered Monday at a market in nearby Fallujah (search), police said. Al-Kubaisi had been kidnapped Saturday from his police station, said police Capt. Nasir Abdullah.
— A bomb exploded near a military base in Baqouba (search), north of the capital, injuring two young shepherds, said Ali Hameid al-Jobori, an official at Baqouba's main hospital.
Militants also fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a fire station in the Baghdad neighborhood of al-Salihiya, injuring one person, the U.S. military said.
— Turkmen broadcaster Leith Hussein Ali was killed and two others were injured when their car came under fire in the northern city of Mosul, police said.
The violence came a day after a U.S. airstrike authorized by Allawi hit purported trenches and fighting positions in Fallujah used by Al Qaeda-linked foreign fighters, killing 14 people, Iraqi officials said.
Word that Allawi approved the Sunday morning attack was a clear attempt to show that the Iraqi government has taken full sovereignty from the Americans and has firm control, despite its deep reliance on 160,000 foreign troops, mainly from United States.
"We worked with the government, the government was fully informed about these matters, agreed with us on the need to take the action, we conducted the action," U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said during a news conference here. "We didn't just strike off on our own; a sovereign nation had to agree."
Since the U.S. Marines pulled back from Fallujah — a focal point of resistance to the U.S. occupation — after besieging the city for three weeks in April, the U.S. military has been limited to using missile attacks and airstrikes to hit potential targets there.
The nature of Sunday's target, like those hit in previous attacks, was in dispute.
The U.S. military said it had destroyed trench lines and fighting positions used by fighters loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), the Al Qaeda-linked Jordanian militant blamed for masterminding car bombings and other attacks in Iraq. The military said 25 al-Zarqawi fighters had been at the site just moments before.
Fallujah Mayor Mahmoud Ibrahim al-Jirisi said the attack hit a site for civilians supporting the Fallujah Brigade, a militia of local residents that took responsibility for security in the city when the Marines left.
"There are no Arabs or foreigners with them," he told Al-Jazeera.
The attack, the sixth U.S. strike on the city in roughly a month, killed 14 people and injured three, according to Iraqi Health Ministry official Saad al-Amili.
After a July 5 airstrike, Allawi, who has promised strong security cooperation with the Americans, issued an unprecedented statement saying his government had provided intelligence for the strike.
After this attack, he went far further, saying that he had authorized the strike.
FOX News' Bret Baier, Ian McCaleb and The Associated Press contributed to this report.