Suspected Sunni insurgents ambushed a minibus carrying Iraqi police recruits near the Syrian border Monday, killing all 11 passengers, Iraqi officials said.
The attack, the bloodiest in months against police, left the minibus riddled with bullets in the desert west of Mosul, the city where an Iraqi crackdown against Al Qaeda in Iraq fighters has been centered. Some fighters are believed to have fled the city toward neighboring Syria.
Police discovered the bodies of the police recruits and their minibus near Baaj, 20 miles from the Syrian border, according to a provincial official in Baaj and a Mosul police officer. They said the policemen, most from Baaj, were returning from their recruitment camp.
Nine bodies, including the police driver's, were found in the vehicle and two on the ground, the two officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
The provincial official said the attack could have been retaliation for the Mosul crackdown, launched more than a week ago.