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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Bomb blast shatters Baghdad cafe
Iraqi policemen (archive)
Iraq's police force is a regular target for insurgents
Seven people are now known to have died and more than 20 injured when a suicide car bomb exploded outside a Baghdad cafe popular with Iraqi police.

The late-night blast happened near the Australian embassy in a diplomatic quarter of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Another device went off in the same area shortly afterwards leaving one dead and two injured, reports said.

Iraq's fledgling police force is a frequent target for insurgents opposed to the country's US-backed government.

Witnesses said the policemen were eating a meal to mark the end of the daily fast undertaken during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when the blast happened.

Shards of metal, glass and body parts were scattered over a large area.

Among the dead were four police officers and the militant driving the vehicle that exploded.

Several foreign embassies and offices are located in the area where the explosion occurred - the Jadiriyah district on a peninsula in the Tigris river.

The blast happened just a few hundred metres from Australia's embassy but there were no casualties reported there.

Meanwhile, the US military has reported that a car bomb exploded in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday morning, killing five Iraqis and wounding 15.

It said the driver of the car bomb collided with another car on a bridge, and that several other cars were destroyed in the explosion.

There is no word on what the bomber's target may have been.

Talks off

The assault by US and Iraqi forces on the city of Falluja, which saw fierce street battles on Sunday, is continuing.

Chief negotiator for Falluja, Sheikh Khaled al-Jumaili, welcomed after his release
Jumaili blamed US actions for the breakdown
Three civilians were reported killed overnight.

The prospect of a peaceful resolution to the conflict has been dealt a serious blow after a senior negotiator, Khaled al-Jumaili, declared that peace talks with the interim government were off.

Mr Jumaili was speaking after being released from four days in US custody.

"The people of Falluja have suspended negotiations, despite the fact they had made progress, because of arrests like mine and American policies," he said.

In other violence, two Iraqi civilians have been killed in Baghdad on Monday, police said.

A civilian car was hit killing the driver in western Baghdad near a military convoy, police said quoted by AFP news agency.

An Iraqi student was reported killed and two others wounded in another bomb blast in Jadiriyah neighbourhood, according to medics.




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