Blasts kill at least 34 in Iraq

Three blasts killed at least 34 Iraqis, most of them in a suicide car bombing that struck a group of police recruits.

A US soldier attends to a boy who was wounded in a bomb attack in Tikrit.
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BAGHDAD // Three blasts killed at least 34 Iraqis today, most of them in a suicide car bombing that struck a group of police recruits, officials said. It was one of the highest daily casualty tolls in recent months. Two of the bombs went off in Diyala province, which has been the site of much of the recent violence and a stronghold of Sunni insurgents. In the provincial town of Jalula, an assailant drove a car toward a building where new police recruits had assembled, said Col. Ahmed Mahmoud Khalifa, the local police chief. The car approached the building but was stopped by guards. The driver then detonated the explosives, the chief said. He said 25 people were killed and 40 wounded. Local police have been forming an emergency response force in the region, with each tribal sheik allowed to send a certain number of recruits. Yesterday was the last day of recruitment, and applicants came to the police centre today to check whether they had been accepted, Col. Khalifa said. After the blast, security forces imposed a curfew on Jalula, about 125 km northeast of Baghdad. Elsewhere in Diyala, a roadside bomb struck a van carrying a Sunni family near the town of Mandali along the Iranian border, said Col. Sarchal Abdul-Karim, a spokesman of Iraqi border guards in the area. Five members of the family were killed, including two women and two children, the spokesman said. The family was on the way to a religious shrine, the colonel added. Also today, a bomb planted in a parked car killed four people and wounded six, including three policemen, in the city of Tikrit north of Baghdad. The explosion went off during morning rush hour in a central street used by local government officials to go to work, said a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media. Tikrit is Saddam Hussein's hometown and has been a hotbed of the Sunni insurgency since the 2003 ouster of the late Iraqi leader. But it has enjoyed relative quiet since violence levels significantly dropped during the past year in much of Iraq.