Insurgents killed nine Iraqi soldiers yesterday in a town north of Baghdad -- seven of them in an armed assault on a checkpoint and two others in a car bombing more than an hour later, Iraqi officials said.
The attacks came a day after a surge in violence -- including suicide bombings and ambushes -- killed at least 60 people across the country, shattering a relative lull for the previous week.
Yesterday's first attack occurred about 5am when gunmen firing mortars, machine guns and semiautomatic weapons stormed a checkpoint in Khalis, northeast of Baghdad. Seven soldiers were killed., and three injured.
At 6:30am, a car bomb parked alongside a road exploded as an Iraqi army patrol passed, killing two soldiers and wounding another.
The deadliest bombing Sunday hit an army recruiting center at Muthana airfield in central Baghdad when a man dressed in civilian clothes detonated two explosive-laden belts among a crowd of recruits, killing 25 others and wounding nearly 50. Most of the dead were believed to have been recruits.
It was the bloodiest attack in the capital since July 2 when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a recruiting center in west Baghdad's Yarmouk neighborhood, killing 20.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack.
In other violence Sunday, a Shiite mother and eight of her children were found shot dead in their beds Sunday in Baghdad. One boy survived. The father, who was not at home at the time, blamed the killings on sectarian hatred.
Also on Sunday, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari criticized US and multinational forces for shooting at Iraqi civilians who act suspiciously near patrols or military areas; the US blamed the problem on the growing use of suicide car bombs as an insurgent weapon.
"Terrorists, through use of suicide [vehicles], have caused this predicament," said Lieutenant Colonel Steven Boylan. "They have affected the normal level of trust that people have for one another and have made it difficult to distinguish between normal traffic and a grave potential threat."
Al-Jaafari said that such cases should be handled in a "civilized" way, such as shooting at tires instead of passengers.
Suicide bombers struck elsewhere across the country Sunday. At the Walid border crossing into Syria, two suicide car bombers killed at least seven Iraqi customs officials.
Also, near the northern city of Mosul, a suicide car bomber rammed into a police convoy carrying an Iraqi brigadier general, killing five policemen.
A suicide car bomb in Kirkuk killed at least four civilians Sunday, according to police. A second car bomb was rigged to explode as rescuers rushed to the scene, but it was found and detonated by US troops.