Iraq: widespread bloodshed

Iraqi security forces suffered a second day of widespread bloodshed yesterday when a wave of ambushes and bomb attacks across Baghdad left at least 24 people dead.

In the deadliest attack, a suicide bomber strapped with explosives blew himself up at an army recruitment centre at a former airfield in western &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Baghdad, killing at least 13 people and wounding 15. Suicide bombers have repeatedly targeted crowds of Iraqis queuing up to join the security forces.

Gunmen also ambushed a police convoy, shooting dead ten officers and then setting the vehicles ablaze, police said. And a car bomb was detonated as the deputy interior minister’s convoy drove past, killing one of his bodyguards and wounding six people, according to police. The deputy minister was unhurt, reports the Scotsman.

According to the New York Times, Today's violence followed an attack by a suicide bomber on Wednesday in the Kurdish city of Erbil that killed at least 60 Kurds, most of them prospective policemen.

The blast in Erbil was carried out by a suicide bomber pretending to be a job seeker who blew himself up outside a police recruiting center. About 150 prospective policemen were wounded.

A well-known terrorist group, Ansar al-Sunna, which has been active in northern Iraq, took responsibility for the Erbil blast and said it was intended as retribution for the involvement of &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Kurdish troops fighting insurgents alongside American forces.

Near the recruiting center, blood was splattered over buildings, and pieces of flesh were strewn on the pavement, in trees and on top of damaged cars. Iraqi and American soldiers used plastic bags to collect the remains.

Arab television showed emergency workers frantically loading haphazardly bandaged victims into ambulances and taking them to nearby hospitals, where hallways were crowded with frenzied relatives.

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