Thu, Jan 06, 2005 - Page 6 News List

Bomb outside of an Iraqi police academy kills 20

AP , BAGHDAD

A car bomb exploded yesterday outside a police academy south of Baghdad during a graduation ceremony, killing at least 20 people, a police official said.

The bomb exploded outside a gate of the academy in Hillah, about 95km south of Baghdad, said police Captain Hady Hatef.

Twenty people were killed and an unspecified number were injured, he said.

It was the latest in a string of attacks against Iraqi police and security forces ahead of Jan. 30 elections which insurgents are trying to disrupt.

The number of Iraqi policemen killed in the last four months of last year was 1,300 before the latest blast, according to Iraqi interior ministry figures released yesterday.

The Iraqi police and security troops represent a soft target for the insurgents because of their poor training and equipment compared to the US-led coalition forces. The militants consider Iraqi soldiers to be collaborators with the American occupiers.

Yesterday's violence brought the death toll in the last four days to more than 90, mostly Iraqi security personnel. Despite the bloody insurgency, which US troops and Iraqi security forces have been helpless to prevent, US and Iraqi leaders insist that the Jan. 30 vote will proceed.

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