Scores of people have been killed and injured in several early morning bomb blasts in Baghdad. Three explosions rocked Baghdad Monday morning, the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The first blast, which could be heard several kilometers away, occurred near a Red Cross building where mostly Iraqis work.
The U.S. military says a suicide bomber rammed an ambulance packed with explosives into security barriers near the building. A huge plume of black smoke rose from the site of the explosion. Several cars nearby ignited in flames.
Within minutes, U.S. military helicopters were overhead. Tanks and emergency vehicles rolled into the area and the streets were packed with wounded and terrified citizens. For several blocks the windows in most buildings were shattered, and shards of glass could be seen everywhere.
Edward Yousef owns a furniture store two blocks from the blast site. He was in front of his store, beginning to clean the broken glass from the floor of his shop. "Somebody do that. What can I do? We are sleeping in my home," he said. "Come in the morning and I want to work here and you see glass from the explosion."
The streets became so congested ambulances had difficulty getting through the large crowds of people.
Several minutes after the blast near the Red Cross building another explosion rocked the capital, this one at a police station.
Police officials say a pickup truck sped toward the police station and exploded. An Iraqi police official at the scene - Lt. Abbas Adil Abid Alwan - said a U.S. military policeman was killed along with three Iraqi policemen. The official said about 35 Iraqi civilians were wounded. And within minutes, still another blast went off, near another Iraqi police station, causing an unknown number of casualties.
The series of bombings follows Sunday's rocket attack on the al-Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad that killed a U-S army colonel and wounded 15 other people.
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was in the hotel when the attack occurred but was not harmed.