Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Suicide bomber kills 50 people outside Iraqi police centre

A suicide bomber has killed at least 50 prospective police recruits outside an enrollment centre in the Iraqi town of Tikrit. Reports have emerged that another 100 or so people were wounded in the bomb blast; the highest toll from a single attack since the church siege in Baghdad, in October 2010, which killed 44 worshippers.

Deputy Governor of Salahuddin province, where Tikrit is situated, Ahmed Abdul-Jabbar, said the attack was the work of “terrorists” further adding that it would only be Al-Qa'ida who would “keep on slaughtering” innocent people.

Tikrit's hospital is inundated with victims of the blast. Experts say that the bomber may have had as much as 50kg of explosive on his person. An unnamed police source said that at the time of the attack more than 300 people were standing in line with their documents, hoping to get a $500-a-month job as a police trainee. He added that the hospital was “full of dead and wounded young people” and that an ambulance service still continued “evacuating casualties".

The predominantly Sunni Tikrit, hometown of the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, has always been a stronghold of Sunni Islamist insurgents. And while overall violence in Iraq is subsiding, incidents such as these prove that it may take time to stamp it out altogether.

Sources: Reuters, BBC News, AFP, Aljazeera, Guardian

For more news and expert analysis about Iraq, please see Iraq Focus.

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