30 killed, 40 wounded as suicide bomber blasts off in Iraqui Tal Afar

A suicide bomber killed 30 people and wounded 40 more at an Iraqi army and police recruitment center near the Iraqi city of Tal Afar on Wednesday.

It was the second suicide bombing in as many days in the predominantly Sunni city. The two bombings combined killed at least 60 as the days ticked down to Iraq's constitutional referendum scheduled for Saturday.

Dr. Salih Qadu said the bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest in a group of fresh recruits at the center, about six miles (10 km) east of the northwest Iraqi town, reports CNN.

An explosion set by insurgents also shut down an oil pipeline from the northern city of Kirkuk to refineries in Beiji, where it moves via the country’s export pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, an official said.

The Kirkuk-Beiji pipeline is critical to Iraq’s oil export operations, but that line is only intermittently open because of incessant sabotage.

In Baghdad, a government minister escaped an apparent assassination attempt when a convoy of cars preparing to pick him up at his office was hit by a suicide car bomb that wounded five bodyguards and five bystanders, police said.

Those and other attacks raised the death toll in the last 17 days to 425 in the militants’ campaign to thwart Saturday’s constitutional referendum, even as political leaders reached a compromise aimed at winning Sunni Arab support for the document.

President Jalal Talabani and other politicians praised yesterday’s last-minute constitutional breakthrough as "historic," and he urged all Iraqis to approve the document during weekend balloting.

"There is no excuse for Arab Sunnis to boycott the vote now that we have responded to all their demands and suggestions," Talabani said at a nationally televised news conference, informs News.com.

Photo: Getty Images P.T.

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