BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — A suicide driver detonated a car bomb outside the Iraqi prime minister’s party headquarters in Baghdad yesterday, injuring at least 10 people. The al-Qaida affiliate in Iraq claimed responsibility a day after its leader declared all-out war on democracy.

Beth Dykstra
A Baghdad resident leaves Yarmouk hospital after treatment for injuries following a car-bomb explosion yesterday. The bomb injured at least 10 people. (AP PHOTO)

Mortar rounds slammed into an Iraqi National Guard camp near Baghdad International Airport yesterday, as the rumble of distant explosions reverberated through the capital. There was no report of casualties in the mortar attack.

The suicide bomber struck at a police checkpoint on the road leading to Ayad Allawi’s Iraqi National Accord offices in central Baghdad, shaking the city center with a thunderous explosion. Among the wounded were eight policemen and two civilians, said Dr. Mudhar Abdul-Hussein of Yarmouk Hospital.

Al-Qaida’s wing in Iraq said in a Web posting that “one of the young lions in the suicide regiment” carried out the attack against the party office of Allawi, “the agent of the Jews and the Christians.”

The attacks occurred six days before Iraq’s crucial national elections, the first since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Insurgents have condemned the elections and vowed to disrupt them.

In an audiotape posted Sunday on the Web, a speaker claiming to be Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, head of al-Qaida in Iraq, declared “fierce war” on democracy and said anyone who takes part in next weekend’s Iraqi elections would be considered “an infidel.”

“We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology,” the speaker said. “Anyone who tries to help set up this system is part of it.”

The speaker warned Iraqis to be careful of “the enemy’s plan to implement so-called democracy in your country.” He said the Americans have engineered the election to install Shiite Muslims in power. Al-Zarqawi, who is a Sunni Arab like most of the insurgents here, has in the past branded Shiites as heretics.

The United States has offered a $25 million reward for al-Zarqawi’s capture or death — the same amount as for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

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