A suicide bomber struck a recruiting station for neighbourhood patrols in Iraq's Diyala province, killing 12 volunteers and injuring 10 on Thursday, police said. According to Reuters, Iraqi police conveyed American forces may have also been among the casualties in the strike that took place in the town of Kanaan, 20 km southeast of Baquba, the capital of the province north of Baghdad.
This attack came after the top U.S. commander in northern Iraq warned that al-Qaeda in Iraq was still capable of staging spectacular attacks despite a 50 percent decline in bombings and other violence in his region. According to the AP, Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling said al-Qaeda in Iraq was being pushed north by the increased numbers of U.S. soldiers that surged into Baghdad over the summer and fall. The "insurgents" are also being flushed out of Anbar province by "awakening councils."
"Many of them have transited our province" of Diyala, which has seen some of the worst violence in Iraq, he said. "There are still some very bad things happening in that province, but we are continuing to pursue al-Qaida so they don't find a safe haven anywhere."
"You know, there are going to be continued spectacular attacks," he said when asked about the bombing of a bridge across Mosul dam on Monday.