A suicide bomber slammed a car packed with explosives into the gate of a prison north of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 19 people, Iraqi officials said. The blast took place in the town of Taji, some 20 kms north of the capital.
According to the AP, a senior Iraqi security official warned that even more attacks may be in the offing ahead of the American pullout.
The attacker hit the main gate of al-Hout prison at 8:00 a.m. local time, when many employees and guards were on their way to work, said a police officer. Ten policemen were among the victims and the rest were civilians, he added. At least 22 people were hurt. Guards and policemen fired into the air to disperse the crowds after the blast, fearing a second explosion. Security forces set up a cordon around the prison to prevent any escape attempt by the inmates, a policeman conveyed.
The military spokesman for Baghdad, Qassim al-Moussawi, stated that the goal of the recent attacks across the country was to "negatively affect the moral" of the Iraqi security forces.
Two days ago, a string of blasts hit a market in Baghdad and an area on the city's western outskirts, killing at least 15 people. Three days earlier, a triple bombing in the southern city of Basra killed 19 people.