Witnesses said a passing car fired AK-47 assault rifles and tossed a grenade at a police checkpoint near the Iraqi town of Falluja on Thursday, killing two policemen and wounding five, police at the scene said.

"We were standing at our checkpoint and saw some cars come by. From one of them, a grenade was thrown and Kalashnikovs were fired at us," policeman Mahir Muhammad said at the site of the attack on a motorway between Falluja and Ramadi.

The attack came on the same day a Spanish security chief was seriously wounded in an anti-resistance operation.

Spanish Civil Guard commander Gonzalo Perez Garcia was shot in the head after a pre-dawn raid with Iraqi police at the home of a suspected resistance leader, according to a Spanish Defence Ministry statement. He was taken to a US military hospital in Baghdad.

The incident occurred in the town of Hamsa, about 40km south of Diwaniya where 1300 Spanish troops are based. Diwaniya is 160km south of Baghdad.

Ten Spaniards have died in Iraq since August.

Three women killed

Three women were killed while
heading to work

On Wednesday, three Iraqi laundresses working at a US military base west of Baghdad were killed and six others wounded when gunmen raked a minibus they were travelling in.

Police had earlier erroneously reported that four people had been killed.

According to a survivor, the attack occurred late in the evening on the road linking the flashpoint town of Falluja, 50km west of Baghdad to the US base of Habbaniya further west.
 
"We were nine women and the driver. It was 6:30pm (0330 GMT) and we were going, as every day, to the Habbaniya base, where we work in the laundry," said Maggi Aziz, 49, wounded in the leg, shoulder and head.

"Suddenly, four masked men in a white Opel machine-gunned our minibus," said the woman from her hospital bed in Ramadi.

"It is possible that the attackers were terrorists who wanted to hit us because we have good relations with the Americans."

On Sunday, a suicide bomber blew up a truck outside the Baghdad headquarters of the US-led coalition, killing 24 people, most of them Iraqis queuing up to work at the symbol to American power in Iraq.