The bomb exploded on Wednesday in a western district of the city, which has been a focus of anti-US activity in recent months.

 

"Insurgents continue to disregard the safety of their fellow citizens during their attacks," the US military said in a statement, adding that they had "killed two and injured 20 Iraqi citizens during attacks in the last three days".

 

No US casualties have been reported.

 

Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, with a mixed population of Sunni Arabs and Kurds, has seen a surge in violence since November when fighters staged coordinated attacks on police stations throughout the city, forcing the police to flee.

 

US military commanders think fighters fled to Mosul after US forces launched an offensive against their stronghold in Falluja in early November.

 

Abduction 

 

Earlier this week, a female news reader at Mosul's local television station was seized as she drove to work with her 10-year-old daughter.

 

The girl was released on Tuesday, but there has been no word on the presenter.

 

Before elections last month, additional US troops were sent to Mosul to try to restore order during the vote, which was widely boycotted in the city and surrounding areas.

 

In recent weeks, the US military has stepped up patrols and raids in both east and west Mosul in an effort to hunt down suspected fighters.

 

Mosul is divided by the Tigris river.

 

A new Iraqi police chief has been appointed and efforts are being made to rebuild the force.