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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Suicide Bomber Strikes Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A huge explosion believed to be caused by a car bomb rocked central Baghdad on Sunday near the Baghdad Hotel, where many U.S. officials and security agents are thought to live and work.

Police Colonel Adnan Radif said two people were killed, including the bomber, and 24 injured.

Two huge blasts could be heard in quick succession, although it was not clear if two cars were involved.

Bystander Hamid Rahim said two cars tried to enter a side street leading from Saadoun Street to the Baghdad Hotel, but both exploded short of their target. Windows were blown out as far as two blocks from the explosion. The car or cars that blew up had gotten to within about 70 meters of their apparent target.

Sirens could be heard as emergency vehicles rushed to the scene. U.S. helicopters circled overhead. U.S. soldiers in Humvees were at the site.

The blast rattled windows in the Palestine Hotel, home to many members of the international press corps covering the aftermath of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Saad Hamid, a shopkeeper about a block away, said police caught a car bomber at the same spot six weeks ago before he could detonate his explosive. Authorities then erected a blast wall at the end of the street.

The force of Sunday's explosion blew over at least one section of the blast wall. Bricks were hurled to the third floor of nearby buildings.

It was the second big car bombing in the capital in the past four days. A suicide bomber hit a police station on Thursday, killing at least 10 people.