A police source said that the car bomb exploded near the main gate of the university in an area where students wait for minibuses and cars to pick them up to go home. The suicide bomber then blew himself up near a second gate as people fled.

Hoda Abdel Hamid, Al Jazeera's Iraq correspondent, said: "The university is in a neighbourhood that used to be a mixed neighbourhood, but now it is a Shia neighbourhood ... and some people have said that the university is controlled by the al-Mahdi army."

The university official said that classes had been cancelled for two days after the attack.
   
Iraqi toll

UN: More than 34,000 Iraqis killed in 2006

"There is no way people could sit and study. There's glass everywhere and the doors were blown out," the official said.

Police also reported a drive-by shooting in a market in the city's northern al-Bounuk district that killed 10 people and wounded seven.
 
UN reports 2006 deaths
 
The deaths came as the UN reported that more than 34,000 civilians have been killed in violence in the country last year.
 

The UN human rights chief in Iraq said that 34,452 civilians had been killed and more than 36,885 wounded in 2006.

 
The day's earlier attacks included a blast from a motorcycle rigged with explosives that left 15 dead and 70 people wounded near a Sunni mosque in central Baghdad, an interior ministry source said.

More than 100 people were hurt
outside the university [AFP]
A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed two policemen and two civilians and wounded 10, including three policemen, in Karrada in central Baghdad.
 
Six people died and 11 were wounded by a bomb inside a car in Sadr City, a Shia district in eastern Baghdad, an interior ministry source said.
 
And a sniper killed a guard of al-Sabah, a state run newspaper, in northern Baghdad, police said.


The attacks came ahead of a security crackdown in the capital which Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, has said will be free of political interference.


"The security plan will be away from political interference and will crack down on outlaws," al-Maliki said during a meeting with the United Nations representative in Iraq Ashraf Qazi.
  
"Those who do not want to be chased by the military should abide by the law," he said.