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.
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: In its tender, the Hong Kong administration said that it had failed to ‘mobilise the community to support law enforcement actions’ The Hong Kong government has agreed to pay millions of pounds to a discreet London-based PR firm to counter coverage of the territory in the international media. Consulum, which has also represented Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was on Monday awarded the ￡5 million (US$6.2 million) one-year contract to improve Hong Kong’s reputation — the same day that China passed national security legislation targeting the territory. The Mayfair-based PR business was founded by Tim Ryan and Matthew Gunther Bushell, two former employees of Bell Pottinger, an agency that has been criticized for representing some governments and leaders that other businesses