A suicide bomber, blocked by a traffic jam from reaching his intended target, a police station in Baghdad, exploded a truck laden with explosives on the busy street outside Sunday, killing at least 22 people and wounding 30, Iraqi officials said.
A U.S. military statement put the death toll at 40, citing Iraqi police, and said the bomber used 500 pounds of explosives.
The target was the Rashad police station in eastern Baghdad, but heavy mid-afternoon traffic blocked the attacker's path, said Abud Radhi, a police officer. The attacker detonated the explosives 10 feet from the sand barriers surrounding the station, hurtling and burning dozens of cars.
The victims, some of whose burned, mangled bodies lay in the street in a lake of blood and water from fire hoses, were all civilians, police said.
"Not one of the police was wounded or killed," Radhi said. "But I wish that we would die and not the civilians. These are innocent people. We are fighting the terrorists, not them."
Victims included drivers, passengers and people in the houses, mosque and auto-repair shops near the police station.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari told reporters after a meeting of top officials in Baghdad on new ways to stop the violence that the ideas discussed included broadening a campaign of raids and arrests in Baghdad, called Operation Lightning, to other cities. He said extremist attacks were no longer a problem only in Iraq.
"Not just Iraq, but the whole world is under terrorist attacks," he said. "This is an international crisis. It happens not just in the Arab world, but in Britain, Turkey. Terrorism is today like a disease. . . . The root of the terrorism that affects Iraq was grown outside the country."
A man who identified himself as Ahmad said "the window glass was like bullets" after the truck bomb went off. He had pulled his wounded son from under the shattered glass of their home and said three construction workers working next door had been killed.
"We are all okay," said Adnad Khazraji, who lives nearby, as blood streamed down his neck. "But I found a head and a limb in my yard."
"Operation Lightning, Operation Dagger -- every day they use a different name for a new military operation," Khazraji said, ticking off recent U.S.-backed military raids against insurgents. "But the attacks killing mostly civilians increase every day. I don't know who they are arresting -- either they are arresting the wrong people, or the number of terrorists in Iraq is so big now they can't control it."
Jafari accused people in other countries of ignoring the suffering of Iraqis, especially children. He cited a July 13 bombing that killed at least 26 children in Baghdad as they gathered around U.S. soldiers handing out candy.
"No one is condemning it. This is a very dangerous attitude," he said. Aside from governments, "we didn't get any reaction from people in the rest of the world. It was as if nothing had happened."
"I want to ask any journalist, any thinker, any leader, when he sits at home and sees 32 innocent Iraqi children killed -- what is the difference between his children and the kids killed, regardless of that person's religious or ethnic background?"
In other violence Sunday, gunmen assassinated a deputy police chief in Kirkuk, police Col. Adil Zain Alabidin said.
The U.S. military announced that a Marine was killed Saturday in a bombing near Rutbah in western Iraq.
On Monday, a suicide car bomber blew up his vehicle at a checkpoint near a central Baghdad hotel, killing at least five people, the Reuters news agency reported.
In political developments, Sunni Arab members of the committee drafting the new Iraqi constitution signaled they were about to end their boycott, which began after last week's assassination of two of their colleagues, the Associated Press reported. The 12 Sunni Arab members of the committee announced they would meet with the Shiite chairman over breakfast Monday.
Sunni committee member Salih Mutlaq told the news service that he and his colleagues had received verbal assurances that their grievances would be addressed. If all goes well at the breakfast meeting, "God willing we will participate tomorrow in the constitution drafting committee," he said.
Iraq's government has agreed to meet a Sunni demand to provide security for all members of the constitution committee, Hachem Hassani, head of Iraq's national assembly, told reporters Sunday.
Mutlaq, one of the leaders of the Sunni boycott, said Jafari's Shiite- and Kurdish-led government had yet to agree to the "most important" Sunni demands: limiting Iraq's move toward a federal system with power concentrated in the provinces, and allowing an international investigation of Esa's killing.
A federal system would give the Kurdish north of the country and the Shiite south greater regional powers. Sunnis want any discussion on decentralizing power from Baghdad to "guarantee a united Iraq, not division," Mutlaq said.
Iraqi leaders have committed to an Aug. 15 deadline for having a draft constitution approved by the National Assembly, in time for a national referendum in October. Sunni participation in the drafting of the constitution is seen as vital to ensuring the credibility of the work and to defusing the insurgency. The deadline for the draft is also regarded as vital to restoring public faith in the political process.
Correspondent Ellen Knickmeyer in Irbil contributed to this report.
Majeed Abdullah mourns his son, killed in the blast. Leaders discussed broadening a security crackdown.