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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 May, 2004, 21:36 GMT 22:36 UK
Baghdad hotel hit by bomb blast
Tables covered in debris
Tables in the restaurant were strewn with debris
A bomb has exploded outside the Four Seasons Hotel in Baghdad, injuring up to eight people.

The hotel, which is located in the centre of the city, is frequently used by foreign contractors.

A number of British guests were among those injured when the blast ripped through the hotel bar, tearing down the ceiling and smashing furniture.

The explosion occurred just hours after an explosion at a busy Baghdad market killed at least three people.

Nine civilians were wounded in the Bayaa market explosion, and six Iraqi police officers were also hurt in the 0430GMT blast, he said.

A US convoy had just passed through the area, witnesses told reporters on the scene.

The explosion occurred when police attempted to dismantle two bombs hidden in vendors' stalls. One may have been hidden inside a crate of bananas, a police officer told AFP news agency.

Mortar attacks

At least two police officers were originally believed to be among the dead. While hospital workers told AFP that six people had died, among them two children, the Iraqi health ministry said there were four fatalities in the market blast.

"Is this the freedom that they want? People cut into pieces?" cried one person at the scene. "What did we do wrong?"

Elsewhere, three Iraqi police officers died when a coalition patrol was attacked, US military spokesman Brig Gen Mark Kimmit told reporters during a news conference in Baghdad. Two civilians were also killed in that skirmish.

Earlier Sunday, a soldier from the US 2nd infantry division's Stryker Brigade was killed in a mortar attack.

Another soldier was also wounded in the attack on a coalition base in the northern city of Mosul, the US command said.

A third soldier from the unit died in what was called an "electrical accident", the command said.

And American troops seized Sayed Amir al-Husseini, head of radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr's office in Baghdad after a gun battle. One of the militants was killed in the skirmish.

Last week, a suicide car bombing at the entrance of the headquarters of the US-led administration in Baghdad killed five Iraqi civilian and one American soldier.

The BBC's Caroline Hawley
"In a crowded market place, there were bound to be civilian casualties"



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