The bomb was planted in the basement of the Aike hotel and exploded early on Thursday morning. A US television crew were housed on the first floor.

The blast is highly likely to have killed the Somali maintenance man, but no remains of his body have yet been found.  

An NBC soundman and an Iraqi working for the US media network were wounded when the hotel generator also exploded.

Target

Police Lieutenant Colonel Abd al-Karim Salman said that to his knowledge the blast at the three-storey hotel marked the first time foreign journalists had been targeted. 
  
"We have the Facilities Protection Service to protect journalists but they [the hotel] had not asked for them," Salman said.
 

Last Monday, a car bomb
targeted the United Nations again

The wounded journalist, David Moodie, only suffered flesh wounds.  
  
The bomb at the hotel surprised Moodie, who said that "we were fairly anonymous here." 
  
Media presence

Asked if NBC would pull out, he said that was up to the London offices of the network and added: "I'll get some stitches and probably stay."

Reporters are facing difficulties from Iraqi resistance attacks as well as occupation forces and the US-appointed Governing Council.

Aljazeera's correspondent in Baghdad said a demonstration was planned for Thursday to protest against Aljazeera and al-Arabiya TV's ban from covering the Governing Council.  

Responsibility

There is as yet no information as to who was responsible for the blast that not only structurally damaged the hotel, but also shattered the windows of many nearby buildings.

Occupants were evacuated and the area was patrolled by Iraqi police and US soldiers.
 
The US Central Command in Baghdad was unable to provide any details whatsoever when contacted by Aljazeera.net.

Increasing resistance

On Wednesday, a roadside bomb meant for a US convoy exploded as two civilian buses drove past, killing one Iraqi.
 
Earlier on Monday, a car bomber blew himself up close to the United Nations compound in Baghdad, also killing a security guard.

Iraq has been hit by hundreds of bomb attacks since US forces deposed former president Saddam Hussein in April.

* Four US soldiers travelling in a military vehicle were badly wounded on Thursday.