Sun, May 06, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Suicide bomber kills 15 at army recruitment center

AP , BAGHDAD AND WASHINGTON

A suicide bomber walked into an Iraqi army recruiting center outside of Baghdad yesterday and blew himself up amid a crowd of recruits, killing at least 15 people and wounding 22 others, police said.

The attack underscored the danger facing Iraqi forces who are frequently targeted by Sunni insurgent groups that accuse them of collaborating with US-led efforts to stabilize the country.

The explosion hit about 10am, when the bomber entered a recruitment center in Abu Ghraib, a town on the western outskirts of the capital, police said.

Witnesses said guards spotted the bomber but were unable to stop him from detonating his explosives vest.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed five soldiers and 10 recruits, police said.

In a separate incident, five Iraqi police officers were discovered shot, killed and dumped in a deserted field outside the city of Beiji, 250km north of Baghdad late on Friday, police said yesterday.

The bullet-riddled bodies of the five police officers were dressed in civilian clothes. Their identity documents showed they were from the turbulent city of Ramadi, police said.

In related news, US President George W. Bush offered no clues yesterday about whether he would compromise over linking US support to stability in Iraq.

Bush and Congress have been talking about how to agree on a bill to finance combat operations through September. The president demands the money without strings attached, but Democrats say Bush eventually must accept some conditions on US commitment to the unpopular war.

Earlier this week, Bush vetoed a US$124 billion bill that would have provided money for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan while requiring troops to begin returning home by Oct. 1.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said Bush's veto would not deter Democrats from finding other ways to achieve their two goals of fully supporting the troops while dramatically changing the US mission in Iraq.

"Mr President, we know you oppose the resolution that Congress sent you last week, but on behalf of the American people and our soldiers, we ask you to work with us to find a way to both fund the troops and change the mission," Schumer said in the Democrats' weekly radio address yesterday.

Schumer said Democrats would not back down in their push to persuade Bush to change US policy in Iraq so US troops can get out of the business of policing a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites.

"I know how strongly the president feels that he is right, but if he looked at the facts on the ground, he would come to the conclusion that most Americans have -- we need a change in direction," he said.

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