The bodies of seven members of a single family were pulled yesterday from the rubble of a house that collapsed Friday night when a suicide bomber exploded the fuel tanker he was...

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BAGHDAD, Iraq — The bodies of seven members of a single family were pulled yesterday from the rubble of a house that collapsed Friday night when a suicide bomber exploded the fuel tanker he was driving

Two deaths from the explosion had been reported Friday. Fourteen people were injured.

The truck was detonated by its driver after becoming snagged in the series of concrete blocks in the approach to a residence Jordan began using as its embassy after its previous chancery was destroyed by a car bomb last year.

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That Aug. 7, 2003, attack was the first of some 200 car bombings in Iraq.

Letterman helps Marines laugh

BAGHDAD, Iraq — David Letterman brought his late-night show to Marines serving in Iraq Friday, loosening up the Camp Taqaddum crowd with the line, “Anybody here from out of town?”

Letterman brought along musical director Paul Shaffer, stage manager Biff Henderson, comedian Tom Dreesen and the band Off the Wall.

Letterman, who also came to Iraq last year and went to Afghanistan three years ago, ran off a series of crowd-pleasers:

“Iraqi elections are in January. Hurry up and pick somebody so we can get the hell out of here,” he said.

And: “If I wanted to face insurgents I would’ve spent Christmas with my relatives.”

Kidnappers demand $25 million ransom

ANKARA, Turkey — Kidnappers have abducted a Turkish shipping magnate and three others in southern Iraq and demanded a $25 million ransom, Turkish television said yesterday.

Kahraman Sadikoglu, one of Turkey’s richest businessmen, was seized last week in the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, where his company is removing 19 sunken ships.

In a video shown on television, Sadikoglu said: “A group abducted us four or five days ago saying we did something wrong. They’re investigating, but also look after us very well.

“We brought food to this country, we enabled the delivery of food. We fed many hungry people. That is what we did. If this is a crime, then we are ready to be punished,” he said.

Car bomb kills 3 civilians

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A car bomb killed three civilians yesterday after detonating near a U.S. military convoy on the main road in Khan Al-Nuse south of Baghdad.

“When the American convoy passed, the car exploded,” said Hasan Aboud Khudair, 28, who witnessed the detonation, apparently triggered by remote control. “I saw three people who were killed and there three or four wounded.” Houses near the explosion were damaged, and there was blood on the ground. Najaf chief of police Ghalib Jazaeri said some U.S. soldiers were wounded.

Captives linked to al-Zarqawi

BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. Marines said yesterday they had captured two cell leaders of a militant group linked to Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq’s restive city of Ramadi.

It said the men, Saleh Arugayan Khalil and Bassem Mohammad Hazim, were captured on Dec. 8 and Dec. 12 during sweeps of the mainly Sunni province west of the capital.

“This group is responsible for intimidating, attacking and murdering innocent Iraqi civilians, police, security forces and business and political leaders throughout the Anbar province,” the Marines said in a statement.

Medical professor shot while driving

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Gunmen shot and killed a respected Baghdad University professor of medicine yesterday, the latest victim of postwar violence that has forced thousands of professionals to flee the country.

Hassan al-Rubaiei, 45, was driving along the western bank of the Tigris when gunmen pulled alongside and sprayed his car with automatic gunfire. His wife escaped unhurt.