Baghdad market car bomb kills 62

 A car bomb ripped through a packed Baghdad marketplace Saturday morning, killing at least 62 people and wounding 114 others, Iraqi emergency police said.

The blast destroyed food and clothing stalls and set vehicles on fire, The Associated Press reported.

Ambulances carried the many victims to hospitals, where AP said men were cradling crying babies as doctors sought to treat them.

Crowds swarmed around the devastation strewn across the marketplace and angry young men chanted as they rocked the charred remains of the vehicle believed to have held the explosives, AP reported.

The attack took place around 10 a.m. (2 a.m. EDT) in the Sadr City section in the northwest of the capital, a Shiite neighborhood, and is believed to have targeted a police patrol.

It was the most deadly attack since the killing of al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a U.S. airstrike on June 7.

Kidnappers abducted a female member of the Iraqi parliament elsewhere in Baghdad on Saturday morning, police and an official with the Iraqi Islamic Party told CNN.

Gunmen hijacked the convoy of Tayseer Mashhadani, a Sunni, who was traveling with eight bodyguards from Diyala province to the capital, Iraqi police said.

She was attacked about 1,600 feet (500 meters) from a police checkpoint in the Sha'ab area of northeastern Baghdad, a mixed middle-class neighborhood.

Mashhadani is a member of the Iraqi National Accord, the largest party in the minority Sunni bloc of parliament.

She's an engineer by profession and is on the reconstruction committee in parliament.

"It is difficult to determine at this point who is behind this, but we have appealed to the kidnappers and made a humanitarian plea they set her free, because she is a woman and an Iraqi serving the Iraqi people," said Ala'a Makki, another member of the Iraqi National Accord.

In the Dora suburb of southeastern Baghdad, police were excavating a residential construction site Saturday, in which at least six bodies had been found.

Rape allegations investigated

The U.S. military said Friday it had ordered an investigation into the deaths of an Iraqi family of four at their home in Mahmoudiya, a town south of Baghdad.

The investigation concerns allegations that at least two U.S. soldiers were involved in the rape of a woman and that one of them killed her, a child and two other adults, U.S. military sources said.

Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commanding general of Multinational Division-Baghdad, ordered the Army's Criminal Investigation Command to conduct the investigation.

"A preliminary inquiry conducted by MND Baghdad found sufficient information existed to recommend a criminal investigation into the incident," the statement said.

The allegations came to light on June 23, when a soldier undergoing a stress debriefing said he heard that other soldiers might have been involved in a rape and murder in March.

That soldier is from the 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, the same unit as the three soldiers involved in the checkpoint attack June 16 near Yusifiya. In that incident, Spc. David J. Babineau was killed, and two others -- Army Pfc. Kristian Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas Tucker -- were abducted and later found dead.

Soldiers in the unit were given stress counseling afterward.

The military said it interviewed a second soldier, who gave a report similar to the first. That soldier said he saw bloodstains on other soldiers' clothing and heard them conspire to commit such an act.

Both soldiers said they didn't witness the alleged incident.

It is among a number of investigations into alleged killings of civilians by U.S. forces in Iraq. Four Army soldiers have been charged with murder in the deaths of three Iraqi detainees during an operation in Salaheddin province in May. Seven Marines and a sailor also have been charged with murder in the death of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdaniya in April.

In a case that has yielded no charges, the military is investigating allegations that up to eight Marines killed as many as 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in November.

Other developments

  • Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Saturday will embark on a five-day trip, his colleague and Shiite parliamentarian Hasan al-Seneid told CNN. Al-Maliki will stop in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where he'll discuss bilateral relations, Iraq's national reconciliation plan and political process, and border and security issues.

  • A CIA analysis has concluded the voice on an audiotape released on an al Qaeda Web site Thursday night is that of Osama bin Laden, a CIA representative said. The message mourned the death of al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

  • Russia is posting a $10 million reward for information on the killers of five Russian diplomats, four of whom were slain after being abducted in Iraq earlier this month, the Interfax news agency reported Friday.

  • Romania will not withdraw its troops from Iraq, President Traian Basescu said Friday, reversing an order made by the country's prime minister the day before. Basescu added, however, that the country will seek a reduction of its troops there. 

    CNN's Barbara Starr, Arwa Damon, Jomana Karadsheh and Pam Benson contributed to this report.

    Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.