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At Least 12 Killed in Suicide Attack on Baghdad Police Station

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A suicide bomber blew himself up at a police station in Baghdad early today, killing at least 12 people and injuring 22, according to early reports.

The first major bombing in the capital in several days took place at a police commando facility where recruits were gathering at Nissor Square, near the Mansour neighborhood, authorities said. Those killed included recruits and guards at the gate of the compound.

Emergency crews rushed to the site in what has become a familiar scene. Scores of suicide bombs in recent months have caused hundreds of casualties in Baghdad.

Iraqi police and soldiers and recruits are prime targets of the insurgents, who view them as collaborators with U.S. forces.

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Authorities have attempted to improve security at the recruiting sites, erecting concrete walls and keeping recruits as far from the gates as possible. But authorities say there is always a vulnerability, since the line must start somewhere.

In other violence, gunmen killed an aide to Iraq’s most influential Shiite Muslim cleric and two bodyguards in a drive-by shooting outside a Baghdad mosque Friday.

Shiite cleric Kamal Ghuraifi, an aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, was shot as he was about to leave al-Doreen mosque after leading prayers, according to his son, Hamid Kamal. Police Lt. Thair Mahmoud confirmed the attack.

Ghuraifi was the third Sistani aide to be slain in recent weeks.

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Elsewhere in the capital, a car bomb exploded near a checkpoint outside the offices of Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari’s Islamic Dawa Party, killing one person and injuring at least four, officials said. Jafari was not there at the time, party official Ayad Nedawi said.

Separately, five masked gunmen stormed a nearby Sunni mosque and kidnapped the imam, Sheik Amer Tikriti, during Friday prayers, Police 1st Lt. Mohammed Hiyani said.

Also Friday, a mortar attack sparked a fire that forced authorities to shut down a water plant, leaving millions of weary Baghdad residents with dry taps in 100-degree heat, Iraqi officials said.

The blaze at a power station north of Baghdad cut off electricity to a water plant serving northern and western parts of the capital, officials said. The fire halted all distribution from the waterworks, and project director Jassim Mohammed said repairs could take three days.

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A roadside bomb targeting a U.S. Marine convoy in Ramadi, capital of Al Anbar province, killed two civilians and wounded two others, said 1st Lt. Blanca Binstock, a spokeswoman. Ramadi is an insurgent stronghold 70 miles west of Baghdad.

Another roadside bomb missed a U.S. military convoy in the New Baghdad district but killed a civilian and wounded three, police Capt. Mohammed Izz Deen said.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations accused Marines of killing his cousin’s son in cold blood during a house raid June 25 near the western town of Haditha.

Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie said 21-year-old Mohammed Sumaidaie, the son of his first cousin, was shot by Marines during a raid at his father’s house in the village of Al Shaikh Hadid, near a U.S. military base at the Haditha Dam.

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The envoy called for an investigation.

At Camp Fallouja, U.S. Maj. Gen. Stephen T. Johnson said, “We take these allegations seriously and will thoroughly investigate this incident to determine what happened.”


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