A car bomb blast northwest of Baghdad this morning killed 10 and injured at least 30, according to officials of the Iraq's interim government.
The attack in the town of Haditha, about 125 miles from Baghdad, brought the two-day death toll to 21 in the most lethal resurgence of violence since the interim government assumed political authority on June 28.
Speaking of the insurgency today, Iraq's interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, said he was forming a "general security directorate", a domestic intelligence agency, which he hoped would infiltrate and expose those behind the violence.
"We are determined to bring down all the hurdles that stand in the way of our democracy . . . terrorism will be terminated, God willing," Allawi said, according to wire service reports.
Wire services, quoting officials of Iraq's health ministry, reported that the Haditha attack occurred near the main police station in the town. Few other details were available.
On Wednesday, a sport-utility vehicle filled with explosives detonated at the main entrance to the fortified compound in central Baghdad that houses the interim Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy, killing 11 people, most of them Iraqi civilians, and injuring more than 40 others.
The upsurge in violence followed several weeks of comparative calm following the handover of governing authority by the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority.
Also today, acts of apparent sabotage hit two Iraqi oil pipelines.
One was along the Tigris river in Baiji, 110 miles north of Baghdad where a pipeline fire left a pall of smoke covering much of the sky as far away as Tikrit, 25 miles to the south.
U.S. military authorities in Tikrit said the fire was at the site of another recent sabotage incident on the pipeline, one of three lines that bring crude oil from the northern oil fields of Kirkuk to the country's largest refinery in Baiji.
The other attack, according to wire services, occurred when saboteurs drilled holes in an oil pipeline southwest of Basra in the far southeast of Iraq, where Persian Gulf oil terminals operate. The extent of the damage was uncertain.
The break in the line occurred in the al-Askari district, 12 southwest of Basra, Staff Brig. Gen. Ali Mousawi, the head of the Iraqi Border Police, told the Associated Press.
The pipeline runs to offshore export terminals, but it was not immediately clear if oil exports were affected.
A recent series of fires and explosions along Iraqi pipelines are the result of a variety of conflicts, U.S. military officials say, ranging from feuds between local tribes that guard the lines, truck drivers' grievances, or political sabotage aimed at the new government.
Capt. Daniel Young, an engineer assigned to the First Infantry Division headquarters in Tikrit, said the exact cause of Thursday's fire was unclear. Typically, he said, the Baiji refinery keeps enough excess oil in stored tanks to avoid a shutdown of the refinery, which is operating at half-capacity now for scheduled maintenance repairs.
"Typically these breaks get repaired in about five days. The Iraqis do the repairs. They know it's a big break and they get it fixed quite quickly," he said. "The refinery won't shut down because of it."
Iraq's oil exports were cut in half for five days last week by damage to a different pipeline. Allawi has said the attacks over the past few weeks have cost the country about $1 billion in lost revenue.
Today, he repeated his vow to crack down on attacks on Iraq's infrastructure as well as on insurgent bombers and kidnappers.
As Allawi spoke today, the global Arabic language satellite network al-Jazeera was airing a report on the fate of the Filipino truck driver being held hostage by a militant group in Iraq.
According to the Associated Press account of the al-Jazeera report, the kidnappers are saying they will release him when the last Filipino soldier leaves Iraq, which should take place by the end of the month.
The statement came just an hour after al-Jazeera showed a video of the captive, Angelo de la Cruz, saying he was coming home soon and thanking his government for agreeing to withdraw peacekeepers from the country, the AP said.
In the video, de la Cruz was no longer wearing the bright orange garment he had worn previously. Other hostages killed by insurgents had been wearing a similar garment in videos showing their deaths.
The group calling itself the "Iraqi Islamic Army-Khaled bin Al-Waleed Corps" demanded the Philippines withdraw its 51-member peacekeeping contingent by July 20 or said it would kill him.
The government at first refused but said Wednesday it was coordinating a withdrawal and already had reduced its forces to 43 members. It was unclear when the withdrawal would be finished, though, and one Filipino newspaper called it a "token pullout."
Washington Post Staff Writer Doug Struck contributed to this story from Iraq.