Bomb blast kills Iraqi police, army recruits

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

A suicide car bombing in al Hilla, south of Baghdad, has killed 125 people, mostly Iraqi applicants for police and army waiting for medical exams becoming the worst single event since the initial invasion. At nearly the same time another car bomb exploded in Musayyib, 30km north of Hilla.

The attack occurred about 8:30 a.m. local time Monday, in a crowd of mostly Shi'a recruits applying for positions with the country's security forces, and as citizens were arriving at the nearby outdoor market.

The recruits were waiting for required medical exams at a clinic across from the mayor's home and the market. Shoppers in the market, men, women and children, were among the dead from the blast.

There are conflicting reports regarding the Musayyib explosion, with some reports indicating only the bomber died and others suggesting a police officer also dying from the blast.

Babil province police released a statement regarding the blast, reporting several arrests were made after but not elaborating further.

Attacks by the insurgency forces appear to have increased in deadliness. Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said Monday at a news conference in Baghdad "the number of casualties is much more than before."

al Hilla was the scene of a major battle in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, with several hundred Iraqi forces reported to have been killed in fierce fighting. The city is now included in the Polish military zone under the occupation of Iraq.