Bomb kills at least 13 civilians in Baghdad

By David Rising, AP

BAGHDAD — A roadside bomb rocked an eastern Baghdad Shiite neighborhood early Wednesday, killing at least 13 people and injuring 25 others when it exploded next to buses used by morning commuters, police and hospital officials said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said four American soldiers were killed and four others were wounded in two attacks in Baghdad.

Three of the soldiers were killed and two injured on patrol Tuesday in Al Mashtal, a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. The military said they died after their Humvee was hit with an explosively formed penetrator, a type of bomb that the U.S. says Iran has been supplying to Shiite militias _ a charge the Iranians deny.

Associated Press Television News footage from the incident showed the twisted wreckage of the Humvee, burning wildly as soldiers hosed it down with water.

Last week, anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered a six-month suspension of operations by his Mahdi Army militia. U.S. officials believe mainstream Mahdi forces have generally stuck by the order but breakaway factions of the militia are continuing attacks.

Another soldier was killed and two more injured during combat operations Tuesday in the west of the capital, the U.S. command said.

In the north, a suicide truck bomb exploded at a police checkpoint in Mosul, killing one policeman and wounding 2 others, and also injuring 24 civilians, police Brig. Saeed Ahmed al-Jubouri said.

Elsewhere, in a goodwill gesture for Sunni Arabs ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, some 200 prisoners were released in the city of Fallujah.

Meanwhile, embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met behind closed-doors with Iraq’s top Shiite cleric in Najaf to brief him over efforts to fill Cabinet jobs vacated when ministers from the largest Sunni Arab bloc and al-Sadr’s movement pulled out to protest the prime minister’s policies.

After the morning bombing, just before 8 a.m. in the neighborhood of Baladiyat, blood stained the ground around a small crater caused by the explosion.