An AFP journalist at the scene said the blast, at a National Security department office building, left a crater three metres (10 feet) in diameter and that security forces had cordoned off the area. He reported blood, torn scraps of clothing and shards of blackened metal littered across the street, adding that the building had collapsed in on itself and several houses nearby had been badly hit. In Mansur, another AFP journalist reported seeing several bloodied bodies on the street, with many cars burned out and two buildings destroyed, while nearby houses were also badly damaged. The explosion was outside an office of mobile phone company Asiacell, he said, but it was unclear if the office itself was the target. "When the bomb exploded, all of our papers and chairs were thrown into the air and we were flung to the floor," said one Asiacell employee who did not want to give his name. "Everybody wanted to run away from the building, but fire and smoke was blocking our way," he said, adding that two of his colleagues were killed in the blast and more than 10 wounded. The man, in his 20s, himself suffered head wounds, his clothes were covered in blood and dirt, and his car was badly burned.
A medical official at Al-Yarmuk hospital in west Baghdad said it had received 10 dead bodies and treated 59 people, including 11 women and two children. Also on Sunday, a father and son were killed by a magnetic bomb attached to their car in Ghazaliyah, west Baghdad, the interior ministry official said. He added that three mortar rounds had been fired into the heavily fortified Green Zone, home to many foreign embassies and government buildings, but said they had not caused casualties or damage. West of Baghdad in the mostly Sunni town of Abu Ghraib, an anti-Qaeda militia leader was killed and two others wounded by a roadside bomb, a defence ministry official said on condition of anonymity. The overall death toll in Baghdad was the highest since August 17, when a suicide bomber killed 59 people by blowing himself up at a crowded army recruitment centre.
That same military complex was again targeted two weeks ago, when six suicide bombers carried out a coordinated attack, killing 12 people. The latest violence shattered a relative calm in Baghdad since Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that follows the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which typically sees a spike in attacks. Government figures suggest violence has risen in recent months as the US military has withdrawn thousands of soldiers and Iraqi politicians have failed to agree on a new government six months after an inconclusive election. July and August recorded two of the highest death tolls since 2008, according to figures released by Iraqi officials. The latest bloodletting has sparked concern that local forces are not yet prepared to handle internal security on their own, although American commanders insist their Iraqi comrades are up to the job. But Iraq's top military officer has expressed doubt whether his soldiers will be ready when the last US troops are due to depart at the end of 2011. American forces should stay until 2020, Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari told AFP last month.-AFP