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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 October, 2003, 20:18 GMT 21:18 UK
Blast at Turkish embassy in Iraq
Scene of Baghdad blast
This is the latest in a spate of blasts in the Iraqi capital
A suicide bomber has died during an attempted attack on the Turkish embassy in central Baghdad, the US military says.

The car bomb, which exploded at about 1440 (1140 GMT) close to the building, wounded a couple of people, but killed no-one else, the US military says.

US Colonel Peter Mansoor said they had received a warning of "increased danger" to the embassy three days ago through informants - and this had prompted stricter security.

The attack came a week after the Turkish parliament approved plans to send peacekeeping troops into Iraq.

The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has dismissed suggestions that the bomb was a warning and said Ankara would not be deterred from sending troops.

But the BBC's Jonny Dymond in Istanbul says the bomb will bring home to the Turkish Government, military and people, just what kind of difficulties Turkey might face in Iraq.

Turkey is the first mainly Muslim country to agree to send peacekeepers to Iraq.

BAGHDAD'S CAR BOMBS
7 Aug: A lorry bomb outside the Jordanian mission kills at least 17 people and wounds dozens
19 Aug: A truck bomb outside UN headquarters kills 23 people including top Iraq envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello
22 Sept: New suicide bombing near UN headquarters kills two including the attacker and injures a dozen others
9 Oct: A car bomb outside a police station leaves 10 dead and dozens wounded
12 Oct: At least eight people are killed by a suicide car bomb outside the Baghdad Hotel
Its decision was welcomed by Washington but bitterly rejected by many in Iraq, especially Kurds in the north of the country, says the BBC's Jill McGivering in Baghdad.

They have a history of mistrust and bloodshed with Turkish troops, our correspondent says.

Other Iraqis say it would set a dangerous precedent for any neighbouring country to be involved militarily on the ground because they have regional interests and are not impartial.

Negotiations on the proposed deployment are still going on between coalition leaders in Baghdad and members of the US-appointed Governing Council, many of whose members are opposed.

Spate of attacks

The bomb exploded about 500 metres from the embassy, at the back of the building, in the al-Waziriyah district of central Baghdad.

A protective blast wall absorbed most of the explosion and prevented further damage and injuries, US officials said.

"These security measures succeeded in preventing any loss of life inside the embassy compound and in protecting the structure from major damage," Col Mansoor said.

A group of people gathered shortly after the explosion chanting slogans in support of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

They were driven away by Iraqi police, who fired shots into the air. US troops later sealed off the area.

The blast comes two days after a powerful car bomb exploded at the Baghdad Hotel, home to US officials and members of the Iraqi Governing Council, which killed at least eight people.

Also on Tuesday, an exchange of gunfire between rival Shia Muslim factions in the city of Karbala, south of Baghdad, has left at least one person dead.

Witnesses said the fighting started when followers of a radical cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, tried to take over the shrine of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad - one of the most holy sites in Shia Islam.

Correspondents say the clash appears to be part of a power struggle in the majority Shia community between Mr Sadr's followers, who strongly oppose the US military occupation, and the followers of religious leaders who have taken a more conciliatory stand.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Caroline Hawley
"This is the third car bomb in Baghdad in less than a week"



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