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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 August, 2003, 19:16 GMT 20:16 UK
Bomb attack on Jordan's Iraq embassy
A burned vehicle sits outside the Jordanian embassy, 7 August 2003
The blast destroyed cars close to the embassy
At least 11 people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in a lorry bomb outside the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad.

The force of the explosion sent a car hurtling onto a rooftop and left body parts and debris strewn across the street.

Jordanian officials said all the identified dead were Iraqis.

The attack comes a week after Jordan granted refuge to two of Saddam Hussein's daughters and their children, angering some Iraqis.

Jordanian Information Minister Nabil al-Sharif said the attack was a "cowardly terrorist" act.

Witnesses outside the walled embassy compound said the bomb was concealed inside a minibus or sports utility vehicle. A Jordanian official said he thought a missile was fired at the vehicle to set off the explosives.

One witness said he saw the charred bodies of a woman and two childen still sitting in one of the burned-out cars nearby.

Firefights

Elsewhere in Baghdad, US troops were involved in a fierce gun battle with Iraqis after an American Humvee vehicle was destroyed in an attack. At least one Iraqi bystander was killed.

Blazing car after bomb attack

A US army spokeswoman said two American soldiers were wounded.

On Wednesday night, two American soldiers died in a firefight in the al-Rashid district of Baghdad. It took to 55 the number of US troops killed by hostile fire since the US declared the war largely over on 1 May.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said US troops still had much to do bring the situation under control in Baghdad. He blamed Saddam Hussein loyalists and "some from the outside" for the unrest.

No group has claimed responsibility for the embassy attack.

At least four Iraqi police officers were among the dead, police said.

Injured police officer Hekmat Ibrahim, who had been on guard at the compound, said: "I saw a long vehicle approach the embassy.

"I heard a huge explosion. I was blown back and I fell unconscious."

An Iraqi hits a picture of former King Hussein with his shoe
After the blast, Iraqis beat portraits of the Jordanian kings
Another injured Iraqi embassy guard, Shaheed Mazloum, said he had heard two explosions.

"I was sitting in the reception," he said.

"I heard the first explosion. I ran out and then there was another explosion.

After the bomb, dozens of angry Iraqis stormed the building, smashing portraits of Jordan's King Abdullah II and his father King Hussein.

The crowd was quickly dispersed by US soldiers and Iraqi police.

Correspondents say the groups responsible for the regular attacks against US troops in Iraq are almost certainly behind this incident.

Iraqi resentment

In past years Jordan has found itself caught in the middle of Iraq's relations with the West, says our Baghdad correspondent Matthew Price.

Many Iraqis believe Jordan took advantage of tough UN sanctions on Iraq, acquiring cheap oil from the oil-for-food programme, while offering tacit support to Saddam Hussein's regime.

Jordan supported the US-led war in Iraq, allowing the US to use its territory for military bases.

Iraqis also complain that Jordan has frequently been reluctant to offer asylum to ordinary members of the public.

Jordan is thus resented both by Iraqis who opposed Saddam's regime and those who supported it, our correspondent says.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Jeremy Bowen
"In Baghdad, it's not just the Americans who are targets"



SEE ALSO:
An Arab-on-Arab attack
07 Aug 03  |  Middle East


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