Baghdad, Feb 20 : A suicide bomber detonated his car today as a group of police recruits left their academy in Baghdad, killing 20 in the latest strike on security officials that angry residents blamed on political feuding that is roiling Iraq.
Police said the suicide bomber was waiting on the street outside the fortified academy near the Interior Ministry headquarters in an eastern neighborhood in the Iraqi capital.
As the crowd of recruits exited the compound's security barriers around 1 p.m. and walked into the road, police said the bomber drove toward them and blew up his car.
“We heard a big explosion and the windows of the room shattered,” said Haider Mohammed, 44, an employee in the nearby Police Sports Club, about 100 yards (meters) from the academy's gate. He described a horrific scene of burning cars, scattered pieces of burned flesh and wounded people flattened on the ground.
“Everybody here knows the time when the recruits come and go from the academy,” Mohammed said. “This is a breach of security.”
Five policemen were among the dead; the rest were recruits. Another 28 recruits and policemen were wounded. Officials at three nearby hospitals confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
Iraq's police are generally considered to be the weakest element of the country's security forces, which are attacked in bombings and drive-by shooting almost every day. The last
big assault on police came in October, when 25 people were killed in a string of attacks that included two bombers slamming explosives-packed cars into police stations.