Suicide bomber kills 28 in strike on Iraq recruits

BAGHDAD Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:40am BST

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest blew himself up in a crowd of Iraqi police recruits on Tuesday, killing 28 people and wounding 45, police said.

Initial reports had earlier described the attack, in the town of Jalawla in northern Diyala province, as a suicide car bomb attack at a security force checkpoint.

A police source said the bomber struck a large crowd of recruits lining up to apply to join the police. Recruitment stations have been frequent targets of militants in the past.

The ethnically and religiously mixed province north of Baghdad has emerged as the most violent part of Iraq, as the rest of the country has become more stable over the past year.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have been carrying out an offensive against Sunni Arab al Qaeda militants there for the past month, saying the militants have regrouped in the area after being pushed out of other parts of Iraq.

The northern part of the province is also home to a sizeable Kurdish population, and Kurdish Peshmerga security forces have reached a deal with the central government in Baghdad to withdraw.

(Reporting by Khalid al-Ansary; writing by Peter Graff; editing by Sami Aboudi)

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