A car bomb ripped through a crowd in Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 20 people, including women and children, a day after the US military said violence in Iraq was at its lowest in six years. The blast occurred near a market in the capital's Shaab neighbourhood, defence and interior ministry officials said, with a further 38 people wounded, and eyewitnesses described a scene of charred bodies and burnt-out vehicles. Four children and three women were among those killed, according to officials at two local hospitals. "I tried to escape and the fire was everywhere," said Umm Hatam, 45, who was heading home with groceries when the shock wave from the bomb knocked her off her feet. "I saw the dead bodies of women and children, and about 10 small buses were burned," she said. Karim Ibrahim, 40, an oil ministry worker, said "a large flame rose from the explosion, then I just found myself in the hospital." "I was about 50 metres away from the explosion and I fainted because of my wounds," he said in Al-Kindy hospital of injuries to his shoulder and hand. Shaab, a mixed neighbourhood, is located north of Sadr City, an overwhelmingly Shiite area in the Iraqi capital.