Suicide attack on Baghdad police academy kills 19

Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:05pm GMT
 

By Kareem Raheem

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber killed 19 police officers and cadets Sunday in an attack on a crowd outside a Baghdad police academy, police and hospital sources said.

The car exploded as it careered into a crowd of cadets whom police had just escorted out of the compound and were standing in the street outside, police working at the academy said.

Police and hospital sources said 14 cadets and five police were killed, and 26 people were wounded. All except two of the wounded were police or cadets.

"I can see body parts scattered on the ground and boots and berets covered with blood. Many cars were set ablaze," said a policeman working at the academy on Palestine Street in northeastern Baghdad.

The attack is the deadliest since January 27, when a suicide bomber set off an explosive-laden vehicle near a Shi'ite funeral procession in Baghdad, killing at least 31 and wounding 60.

It breaks a short period of relative calm that accompanied an easing in a political crisis pitting Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against senior members of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya political bloc.

Tensions rose Thursday, however, when a panel of judges detailed 150 attacks they said were carried out by death squads under the command of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi. Maliki sought Hashemi's arrest in December, sparking the crisis.

Hashemi, who has taken refuge in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, has denied accusations made against him, dismissing them as a plot to destroy Maliki's opponents.   Continued...

A police officer stands guard near his wounded comrade after a bomb attack, at a hospital in Baghdad February 19, 2012. REUTERS/Saad Shalash
 
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