Suicide bomber kills 11 as recruits join Iraqi police

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The Independent Online

A suicide bomber struck for the second time in 24 hours yesterday near where National Guard recruits were waiting to sign on, killing at least 11 people in west Baghdad.

A suicide bomber struck for the second time in 24 hours yesterday near where National Guard recruits were waiting to sign on, killing at least 11 people in west Baghdad.

The previous day, another suicide bomber had tried to attack the same target but his car hit a kiosk selling cigarettes. "He got out of the car and ran off firing his pistol into the air so nobody would follow him," said Kamil Hassan, a shopkeeper. The second time the bomber made no mistake.

The number of casualties was increased by the number of men standing nearby desperate for a job. "They were told there would be no interviews today ... but they still stood around," said a fruit seller, Qais.

Later, US troops announced that there was a second bomb. Mr Hassan said: "They could get people to go to an army camp on the outskirts of Baghdad where they would be safe," adding that Saddam Hussein handled recruitment in that way.

US armoured vehicles fought their way into Sadr City, the sprawling slum which is the bastion of Muqtada Sadr, the rebel Shia leader, and his Mehdi Army militiamen. Ten people were killed and 92 wounded.

US troops also raided Sadr's office in Najaf in a move which appeared to breach the agreement that brought the fighting there in August to an end. A spokesman for the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani denounced the raid as being contrary to the agreement under which US troops withdrew from the city.

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