Baghdad: A suicide bomber blew up a vehicle by the Baghdad offices of Al-Arabiya television killing at least three people on Monday, just a month after officials warned the Saudi-funded channel of threats of insurgent attack.
The bomber struck at around 9:00 am (0600 GMT) in front of the station`s bureau in the city centre, wounding 16 people wounded according to an Interior Ministry official, and sending a plume of smoke into the air that could be seen from several kilometres away.
"The office is badly damaged and there is a large crater in front of it," an Al-Arabiya staffer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The journalist added that of the people killed, two had been identified as a security guard and a female office assistant.
Al-Arabiya closed its Baghdad office in June citing government warnings of a threat of insurgent attack.
"Interior Ministry sources told us they had information that terrorist groups were closely watching the bureau in preparation for an attack," an Al-Arabiya journalist said at the time, asking not to be identified.
"The management asked all staff -- journalists and technicians -- not to come to work."
The pan-Arab television channel has been no stranger to attack by suspected Sunni Arab insurgents or pressure from Iraq`s Shi’ite-led government.
In September 2008, its Baghdad bureau chief, Jawad Hattab, escaped unharmed after spotting a bomb, which would-be assassins had attached to his car, before it was detonated by remote control.
In October 2006, a car bomb targeting the channel`s then bureau killed seven people and wounded 20.