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FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) -- A car bomb exploded Tuesday near a police station on a major street in the tense city of Fallujah, killing at least four people, police said. The attack came a day after a series of suicide bombings in Baghdad left about three dozen dead.
Later Tuesday, eight massive explosions were heard after sundown in Fallujah, coming from the southern area of the city. U.S. officials in Baghdad said they were unaware of the explosions, which residents described as "deafening."
The violence in Fallujah came after a string of bold and deadly attacks in the Iraqi capital targeting the U.S.-led occupation and Iraqis who are perceived as working with it.
In Baghdad, the U.S. occupation authority announced that gunmen killed one of the capital's three deputy mayors in a hit-and-run shooting Sunday -- the same day that insurgents hammered a Baghdad hotel with rockets, killing an American soldier.
Those attacks were followed on Monday with the bloodiest day in Baghdad since Saddam's regime fell more than six months ago. Suicide bombers struck the Red Cross headquarters and three police stations, killing eight Iraqi policemen, at least 26 Iraqi civilians and a U.S. soldier.
In Washington, President Bush blamed both loyalists to Saddam Hussein and foreign terrorists for the recent attacks.
"Basically what they're trying to do is cause people to run...That's what terrorists do," Bush told a Rose Garden news conference Tuesday.
After Monday's attacks, aid organizations Tuesday were weighing their role in the insurgency-plagued nation. U.S. officials were unsure who was responsible -- with some blaming Saddam loyalists, others pointed to foreign fighters.
Investigators are trying to determine whether a would-be fifth suicide bomber -- who was caught Monday before he could detonate his explosives -- is truly Syrian as he claims, an official of the U.S. occupation authority said.
The man had a Syrian passport and investigators are trying to determine if it's authentic, said the official on condition of anonymity.
Tuesday's bomb in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, was in a Toyota that exploded in front of a power station and about 30 yards from a school and 100 yards from a police station, witness Hamid Ali said. The target was unclear.
Tawfiq Mijbel, who was badly injured by shrapnel, said he had been driving directly behind the vehicle that exploded. "It stopped in front of the power company. A man got out, while another stayed in the car. A few seconds later it blew up," Mijbel said from his hospital bed.
Khamis Mijbal, who owns a shop opposite the spot where the car blew up said the blast produced a massive ball of fire and that debris flew in all directions.
The school was closed, but police said one body was found inside. Police Col. Jalal Sabri said all the victims appeared to have been bystanders. Sabri said at least four people were dead but the number could reach six. The count was difficult because some victims were dismembered, he said.
To the north near Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, two U.S. patrols were ambushed Monday night, wounding three American soldiers.
In southern Iraq, an explosive went off as a patrol passed, wounding a British soldier and two Iraqis -- a contractor and a civilian -- the military command said. It was the third roadside bombing in the Basra area in the last three days. There have been no fatalities reported.
In Baghdad, the deputy mayor for technical services -- Faris Abdul Razzaq al-Assam -- "was shot in a hit-and-run incident" on Sunday, Tom Basile, a coalition spokesman said. Basile said he had no information that any suspects had been apprehended.
Anti-U.S. resistance forces have assassinated or attempted to assassinate several political or police figures holding posts under the occupation. The most prominent was Aquila al-Hashimi, a member of Iraq's interim Governing Council, who was fatally wounded by gunmen on Sept. 20.
The brazen and deadly attacks in Baghdad attested to the surge in resistance by opponents of the American occupation.
Secretary of State Colin Powell urged the Red Cross and other nongovernment organizations -- as well as foreign contractors and the United Nations -- to stay in Iraq.
"They are needed. Their work is needed. And if they are driven out, then the terrorists win," Powell said Monday in Washington.
Antonella Notari, chief spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, said no decision had been taken whether to evacuate non-Iraqi staff. Twelve of the dead in Monday's attacks were killed in the car-bombing outside the ICRC office in Baghdad.
However, the German TV network ARD quoted the head of the ICRC delegation in Iraq as saying the evacuation of Red Cross personnel would begin Tuesday.
Last week, before Monday's bombing, the Netherlands has moved its diplomatic staff in Iraq to Jordan, citing safety concerns, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. Five foreign staff members were relocated to Amman, while Iraqi staff continued to work at the Dutch embassy, said spokeswoman Hannah Tijmes.
While Pentagon officials pointed to Saddam loyalists in Monday's attacks, some coalition and Iraqi officials blamed foreign fighters.
A coalition spokesman, Charles Heatly, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that "there certainly are indications that there are foreign terrorists who are coming into Iraq," but he did not explicitly accuse them of responsibility.
Britain's special representative in Iraq, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, also said Tuesday that foreign terrorists could be coming into Iraq from Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The use of suicide bombings in Monday's attacks "is a sign of foreign terrorist tactics, rather than the Saddam loyalist elements that we are still trying to chase down," Greenstock told BBC.
Asked whether Syria and Iran were contributing to the problems, he said that while the two countries had cooperated in many respects, they "also have elements in their authorities who want to meddle."
Since Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq on May 1, 113 U.S. soldiers have been killed by hostile fire, and about 1,675 have been wounded. U.S. forces come under attack an average of 26 times a day, and incidents have been on the rise since early September.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)