Blair faces Chilcot as Iraq bombs kill 130

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tony blair's appearance at the Chilcot inquiry today comes with a backdrop of violence in Iraq where at least 130 people were killed in three militant attacks on successive days.

In the holy Shia city of Kerbala yesterday, two bombs exploded among crowds of pilgrims, killing at least 50 people. The first suicide blasttargeted aspiring police officers queueing at a recruiting centre in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit on Tuesday. Despite being frisked at the entrance, a man wearing a suicide vest managed to walk up to the recruits and detonate his explosives, killing 65 people.

Barely 24 hours had passed before the security forces were hit again. An attacker drove an ambulance up to a police training centre in Diyala province on Wednesday and detonated a bomb inside, killing up to 15 people.

Police said the attacks, in which 375 other people were injured, carried the hallmarks of al-Qa'ida-linked groups trying to destabilise Iraq before the planned withdrawal of all remaining US troops by the year's end.

Despite billions of dollars of US investment, there is a shortfall of fully trained police and army recruits. "The Iraqi government should reconsider the withdrawal date because our forces are not yet ready," Falah al-Naqaeeb, a lawmaker from Salahuddin, told the Associated Press news agency.

The spate of bombings follows a two-month lull in the spectacular strikes that Iraqis had grown used to since the 2003 US-led invasion. At the height of the slaughter in 2006 and 2007, near-daily attacks hit the country in the chaos and sectarian strife that engulfed Iraq after the deposing of Saddam.