The US military had initially said more than 40 civilians had been killed in the Sunday explosion in the Mashtal area of eastern Baghdad. This figure was not reconfirmed later.

The attack occurred at the Rashad police station during a blinding sandstorm. Security barricades prevented the bomber from reaching the station, but the huge blast destroyed two dozen cars and damaged nearby shops.

Body parts were strewn across a large area at the explosion site, Iraqi journalist Walid Khalid told Aljazeera. Many of the victims were charred beyond recognition.

Other attacks

One US soldier was killed and two were wounded on Sunday during a mortar attack near Balad north of Baghdad, the US military said.

Elsewhere, armed men killed the head of the city council in

Samarra, 95km north of Baghdad, police said.

Council chairman Taha
al-Hinderah and a companion were gunned down as they walked in the Albu Rahman neighbourhood on Sunday evening, said police Captain Laith Muhammad.

The Baghdad blast  occurred
during a sandstorm

In Mosul, anti-US fighters emptied fuel from two tankers on the Muthanna Bridge across the Tigris river and set in on fire, police said. Two people were wounded in clashes that followed.


Six policemen were also killed on Sunday in scattered attacks

in Baghdad and Kirkuk, officials reported. Armed men in Kirkuk

also killed an Iraqi soldier and wounded six people, police

said.

Sunni boycott

Ayham al-Samaraei, a member of the Iraqi constitution drafting committee, said the Sunni Arab members would most likely resume their participation in the constitution drafting committee on Monday, pointing out that most of their demands have been met.

Speaking to Aljazeera, al-Samaraei, of the Islamic Party, said the Sunni Arab boycott was not due to the provisions of the constitution, but the circumstances that accompanied its drafting.

He renewed the call to review the provisions dealing with the federal system, which could be "understandable when talking about Kurdistan, but remain ambiguous when talking about other regions".

Allawi bloc warning

Meanwhile, members of former prime minister Iyad Allawi's bloc have threatened to walk out of the constitutional drafting committee in support of a Sunni group that has boycotted the process.

Ex-premier Allawi's bloc said it
was not consulted on the draft

Committee member Adnan al-Janabi, who is also part of secular leader Allawi's eight-member bloc, criticised the way the commission dealt with the Sunni members' decision to suspend their participation in drafting the new charter.

The committee is dominated by Kurds and religious Shia parties.
 
"Their demands and suspension of membership should have been studied and taken in a way that reassures them and brings them
to participate in the draft constitution that we want to be agreed upon by all Iraqis," he said.

On Sunday, no Sunni members showed up at a planned constitutional meeting, though the group had indicated a day earlier that it was considering a return.

Constitutional hurdles

Shia member Baha al-Araji said no decision would be taken "without the presence of the brothers unless there is a reason for the absence. Therefore, the committee will be committed to handing over the draft at the time agreed upon".

"Their demands and suspension of membership should have been studied and taken in a way that reassures them..."

Adnan al-Janabi,
Allawi bloc member

The threatened walkout by Allawi's group is the latest hurdle in the commission's goal of getting a constitution drafted and approved by the assembly on 15 August. That charter would then be scheduled for a public referendum two months later.

The mixed make-up of the committee was deemed crucial for drafting a constitution acceptable to all of Iraq's ethnic and religious communities.
 
On Thursday, the 12 remaining Sunni members of the commission suspended their participation to protest against the
assassination of Sunni member Mijbil Isa and adviser Dhamim Husayn al-Ubaidi by unknown armed men. Two of the original 15 Sunni members had resigned earlier over threats against them.

They had demanded an international investigation into the killings, better security and a greater Sunni role in deliberations.