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Suicide Bomber Kills 20 in Baghdad

July 2, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ A suicide bomber strapped with explosives killed 20 people waiting outside a police recruiting center in Iraq’s capital on Saturday, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

The attacker wore an explosive-laden belt and blew himself up outside the recruiting center in west Baghdad’s Yarmouk neighborhood, said police Col. Adnan Abdul Rahman, an Interior Ministry spokesman. Most of those killed were recruits, he said.

The blast occurred at about 9:00 a.m., said police Lt. Majid Zaki. Yarmouk Hospital received at least 17 bodies and treated 21 wounded, Dr. Muhanad Jawad said.

Heavily-armed police arrived at the scene in white pickup trucks, firing warning shots in the air to clear the area. Emergency workers carted bodies away on stretchers

Insurgents bent on destabilizing Iraq’s government frequently target security forces and recruiting centers where long lines form outside.

The attack pushed the death toll to more than 1,400 people killed since Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced his Shiite-led government on April 28.

Sunni Muslims form the backbone of Iraq’s violent insurgency. For decades the Sunnis, dominated Iraq, but they lost power when Saddam Hussein, their last patron and a Sunni, was ousted. Their boycott of January’s historic elections further sidelined them.

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