Iraq: At least 14, including four US troops, die
A female suicide bomber blew herself up in a crowd of Iraqi security force recruits on Wednesday killing seven people and injuring 37. The bombing is the second suicide attack on recruits in two days. Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out by "a blessed sister."
According to police Brigadier Saeed Ahmed Al Jibori, the attack occured as crowds of men waited outside the Tal Afar army recruitment center in northern Iraq waiting to enlist.
Jibori told reporters that the bomber had reportedly concealed explosives beneath her clothing.
Tal Afar, located 93 miles east of the Syrian border and 260 miles north-west of Baghdad, has been the site of intense fighting in recent days as a joint US and Iraqi effort to quell ongoing resistance in the area was recently completed.
According to Reuters, the joint operation reportedly ended with the capture or death of some 500 men, and what security sources refer to as a military success in returning Tal Afar to their control.
Wednesday's suicide attack held a striking resemblance to that in the town of Baquba on Tuesday, in which a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of police recruits north of Baghdad. At least ten people were killed in Tuesday's attack.
Elsewhere, the town of Baqouba suffered its second suicide car bomb in two days. An attacker slammed his vehicle into a police patrol in central Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, killing one person and wounding 14, said Dr. Ahmed Mohammed at Baqouba General Hospital, according to the AP.
In the city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, an attacker set off an explosion in the home of a bodyguard of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday, killing two people and wounding five, al-Sadr aides and a hospital official said.
The U.S. military declared Wednesday that a Marine from the 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force died from a "non-hostile" gunshot wound two days earlier near Fallujah. Another U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb at the town of Safwan on Iraq's border with Kuwait on Wednesday, the military said. Two other servicemen, including an airman were killed on Wednesday, the army added.
On his part, US President Bush on Wednesday warned there will be an upsurge in violence in Iraq before next month's voting, but said the terrorists will fail. "Our troops are ready for them," he said.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)