Foreigners hurt in Baghdad blast

The blast at a Four Seasons Hotel on Sunday evening (local time) also apparently injured two Iraqi guards when the dining room was damaged.

Police and US forces cordoned off the area, while Central Baghdad police chief Ahmed Elwi told Dubai-based Al Arabiya satellite TV that an explosive package placed behind the hotel caused the blast.

Britain’s Foreign Office said six or seven Britons were involved in the incident but none were seriously hurt.

Insurgents have repeatedly attacked Baghdad hotels used by foreigners in a campaign against US-led occupation forces and foreign civilian contractors.

In other developments:

Loud explosions were heard around Baghdad early on Monday morning (local time) as US warplanes roared overhead. It was not clear where the explosions originated from.

US forces and the militiamen of Shiite rebel cleric Moqtada Sadr clashed on Sunday, with US soldiers killing 18 members of Sadr’s militiamen.

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director of the coalition, said that three Iraqi police and six civilians were also killed in bomb and gun attacks in Baghdad.

Another seven people were killed and eight others wounded when a bomb ripped through a crowded Baghdad marketplace, hospital workers said.

In Basra, three British soldiers were wounded when an explosive device was hurled at their vehicle in the southern Iraqi port city, a spokeswoman for Britain’s ministry of defence said. A British convoy also came under fire in the city but there were no casualties in this attack.

In Karbala, central Iraq, two Iraqis were reportedly killed in gun battles between Sadr’s followers and US-led forces in the centre of the holy Shiite Muslim city.

Clashes with supporters of Moqtada Sadr have seen considerable bloodshed for both the Iraqis and coalition forces in recent weeks.

In Kufa, central Iraq, that trend continued on Sunday – four Iraqis were killed and 12 others injured, including four children, in fresh fighting between US troops and Sadr’s militiamen.

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