Baghdad Suicide Bomb Hits Army Recruits, Kills 51

BAGHDAD – A suicide bomber blew himself up Tuesday among hundreds of army recruits who had gathered near a military headquarters in an attack officials said killed 60 and wounded 125, one of the bloodiest bombings in weeks in the Iraqi capital. The massive blast took place around 7:30 a.m. just outside the former Iraqi Ministry of Defense building that now houses the army's 11th division headquarters. The site receives about 250 new recruits each week as Iraqi security forces try to bolster their ranks to prepare for the U.S. military's looming withdrawal after seven years of war. Blown-off hands and legs could be seen among pools of blood at the scene, which Iraqi soldiers closed off. U.S. helicopters hovered overhead as frantic Iraqis showed up to search for relatives. At least two recruits who witnessed that attack raised the possibility that a car had also exploded at the scene, which could account for the high death toll. But a military spokesman blamed the deaths on a single suicide bomber. "We were sitting there, and somebody began shouting about a parked car," said one of the recruits, Ali Ibrahim, 21, who suffered minor shrapnel wounds in the blast. Ibrahim said he had been waiting to get into the headquarters to secure a job since around 3 a.m. "Then the explosion happened and I was thrown on my back," he said after his release from the hospital. "It was a tragic scene." The recruits were gathered in an open area next to Maidan Square in central Baghdad as they waited to be let through the main gates in small groups, according to two Iraqi police officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. At least three soldiers were among the dead and eight among the wounded, the police officials said. Officials at four Baghdad hospitals confirmed the casualties. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100817/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq