Page last updated at 07:31 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

Deadly car bomb strikes Iraq city of Falluja


A suicide bomber has exploded a car in Iraq's western province of Anbar, killing at least seven people and wounding 13, officials have said.

The explosion took place in the city of Falluja, about 50km (32 miles) west of the capital Baghdad.

The explosion comes as counting continues in Iraq's general election.

Partial results are in from all 18 provinces, showing the coalition of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki leading in seven.

The grouping of his main rival Iyad Allawi is ahead in five, including the Sunni-dominated Anbar, which was the centre of the extremist insurgency in the wake of the US-led invasion in 2003.

The security situation has improved in Anbar in recent years, with many Sunni tribesmen and former fighters turning against the insurgency.

Election complaints 'down'

In Monday's attack, police captain Bashar Mohammed told Agence France-Presse news agency the suicide bomber had blown up his vehicle among a group of workers.

One Falluja resident, Mohammed Abdullah, a shopkeeper, told Reuters: "The blast rocked the area and I found myself suddenly on the floor. Once I saw the smoke and the burning car, I immediately knew it was a bomb."

A total of 38 people were killed in violence on election day on 7 March.

Full results are expected on 18 March, after which time will be allowed for appeals against inconsistencies.

The election commission says the number of complaints is less than half that of provincial polls in January 2009.

A credible election is seen as crucial to US military plans to end combat operations this August, seven years after the invasion.

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