BAGHDAD -- An explosion damaged part of the main pipeline running from Iraq's northern oil fields yesterday, forcing a reduction in the amount of oil available for export.
In Erbil, 200 miles north of Baghdad, police shot and killed the driver of a car packed with 220 pounds of explosives as he approached the police ministry office, the US military said.
The vehicle did not explode, US officials said. A car bombing in Erbil last month killed three people and injured four American intelligence officers.
It was unclear whether the pipeline explosion near the city of Hadeetha, 125 miles northwest of Baghdad, was caused by saboteurs, a senior Oil Ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
He said the explosion ripped open part of the main pipeline linking the northern oil fields to the al-Doura oil refinery and the Mussayab power plant. The oil in the pipeline was earmarked for domestic use.
To maintain domestic supplies, the official said, exports from southern oil fields will be reduced by 80,000 barrels a day. Officials hope this will make up for the shortage from northern oil fields.
There have been many attacks on pipelines in the region, complicating the American rebuilding effort in Iraq, which depends on oil revenue.
L. Paul Bremer III, the US civilian administrator for Iraq, has said the country is losing $7 million daily because of the closure of the export pipeline to Turkey. In September, the line reopened for three days for the first time after the war. Three bomb blasts along the line forced its closure.
Iraq exports an average of 1 million barrels of oil a day, all from southern oil fields.
In Tikrit, meanwhile, a 4-year-old Iraqi girl was killed yesterday when a bomb exploded outside the main US Army base. Her 12-year-old sister was critically wounded, US officials said.
US officials said they believed the bomb was intended for two US Bradley armored vehicles that went down the road minutes before the blast.
In the southern city of Basra, an Iraqi doctor, Haidar al-Baaj, was shot in the back of the head and killed as he was entering his clinic, hospital officials said yesterday.
Baaj, 48, was recently promoted to the post of director of the Educational Hospital in Basra, the officials said.
The officials and members of Baaj's family said he had been threatened over the past two months for cooperating with authorities of the US-run coalition.
British military spokesman Captain Hisham Halawi confirmed that a doctor was killed Wednesday but did not elaborate.
Ninety-four US soldiers have been killed in bombings, ambushes, and other attacks since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations May 1.
Many have been killed by roadside bombs, which insurgents build from explosives believed to come from Iraqi army depots looted after the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime in April.
Brigadier General Robert L. Davis told reporters that 600,000 to 1 million tons of Iraqi munitions are unaccounted for.
Meanwhile, Iraqi security officials said a woman with explosives tied to her belt was arrested Tuesday as she tried to enter a Finance Ministry building, apparently to carry out a suicide attack.
The woman, who seemed to be in her late 40s, was stopped at the checkpoint at the entrance to the building, where guards found the explosives, the officials said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity. The incident occurred in a building next to the Iraqi Central Bank on the same day that a suicide bomber tried to blow up the Turkish Embassy, killing himself and wounding over a dozen others.
Yesterday, troops from the First Battalion, 22d Infantry Regiment held a memorial service for two comrades killed in attacks this week. Specialist James Powell, 26, of Ohio, died Sunday when his Bradley armored vehicle struck a land mine near Beiji. Specialist Donald L. Wheeler, of Concord, Mich., was killed Monday in Tikrit, when a rocket-propelled grenade hit his vehicle.