at Least 51 Killed in Baghdad Blast , 119 wounded
A suicide bomber has blown himself up among dozens of Iraqi army recruits who had gathered near a military headquarters in downtown Baghdad in a devastating strike that officials say killed 51 people and wounded 119. (Aug. 17) A suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded army recruitment centre in Baghdad killing 59 people Tuesday, officials said. The attack, the deadliest this year, wounded at least another 100 people and came a day after Iraq's two main political parties suspended talks over the formation of a new government five months on from elections, and as the US withdraws thousands of its soldiers from the country.
"We have received 59 corpses this morning," an official at Baghdad morgue said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A doctor at Medical City hospital, close to the scene of the attack, said they had so far received 125 wounded.
The bomber blew himself up around 7:30 am (0430 GMT) at the centre, a former ministry of defense building that now houses a local security command, in the Baab al-Muatham neighborhood of central Baghdad. An interior ministry official said the majority of the victims were army recruits but that some soldiers who were protecting the recruitment centre compound were also among the casualties.
Iraqi security forces cordoned off the area following the attack, and security was stepped up across the capital, leading to traffic gridlock during the morning rush hour.
Also on Tuesday, two separate bomb attacks against judges in Baghdad and the central city of Baquba left four of them wounded, security officials said. The recruitment centre explosion was the bloodiest single attack in Iraq since December 8, when a series of coordinated blasts in the capital killed 127 people.
Iraq is mired in a political stalemate, with the winner of its March election breaking off talks with his main rival Monday evening, dampening already faint hopes that a government could be formed before the holy month of Ramadan ends in the middle of September.