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Middle east

Baghdad suicide bomber kills at least 28

Latest update : 2009-03-08

A suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up, killing at least 28 people and wounding 57 more at a police academy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, police and defence ministry officials said.

REUTERS - A suicide bomb attack killed 28 people and wounded 57 on Sunday as recruits gathered at a police academy in central Baghdad, police said.

Many police and police recruits were killed in the attack at the back entrance of the main police academy in the Iraqi capital.

The suicide bomber was wearing an explosive vest, and was riding a motorbike also packed with explosives, police said.

Following the blast, body parts were scattered at the scene and police struggled to determine the identities of the victims.

The explosion jarred Baghdad as violence drops sharply from the height of sectarian and insurgent bloodshed unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

But Iraq remains a dangerous place, and areas such as the northern city of Mosul are still in the grip of a stubborn insurgency. A car bomb in a livestock market in southern Iraq killed 12 people on Thursday.

Police recruits have been a major target for militant attacks in the past. On Dec. 1 last year, an attack killed 15 policemen and recruits and wounded 45 other people outside the same Baghdad police academy.

Iraq has expanded the ranks of its police and military forces by hundreds of thousands of men in recent years as the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki seeks to ensure local forces can provide security, with U.S. forces preparing to end combat operations by next September.

But U.S. and Iraqi forces acknowledge that Iraqi forces are in urgent need of equipment and specialised training before they can take over sole responsibility.

Date created : 2009-03-08