Iraq car bomb kills 10 near police academy
Interim PM stands firm on January 30 elections
Wednesday, January 5, 2005 Posted: 7:51 AM EST (1251 GMT)
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Insurgents detonated a suicide car bomb on Wednesday outside an Iraqi police academy in Hilla, south of Baghdad, killing at least 10 people, and wounding 44 others, Iraqi police said.
Hundreds of police recruits had departed from their graduation ceremony, some of whom were waiting in front of the school, when the suicide bomber crashed into them, police said.
At least two Iraqi police officers were among the dead.
Hours earlier, attackers gunned down the security chief for Iraq's Independent Election Commission in Diyala Province while en route to work, the U.S. military said.
The security chief, Col. Khalefeh Ali Hassan, and his driver were killed in a drive-by shooting near Wajihiyah north of Baquba, the military and Iraqi sources said.
In a third attack Wednesday, U.S. and Iraqi authorities in western Baghdad said a suicide car bomber tried to hit a U.S.-Iraqi military convoy -- but missed -- killing an Iraqi civilian and wounding another.
The attacks are the latest against Iraqi authorities, including soldiers, police and politicians, in advance of the nation's first democratic elections, set for January 30.
Iraqi voters are expected to choose a 275-member transitional national assembly. That body will put together a permanent constitution that will go before voters in a referendum. If the law is approved, the plan calls for elections for a permanent government.
Iraq's interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said on Wednesday that despite the attacks, the elections will be held as planned, echoing a White House statement a day earlier.
"We will not allow violence and we will not allow terrorists to derail this process here in Iraq," said Allawi, whose party headquarters was attacked by a suicide car bomber on Monday.
Allawi's comments came a day after gunmen assassinated Baghdad provincial Gov. Ali Al-Haidri in an ambush along a Baghdad road. (Full story)
Also Tuesday, the body of the deputy director of the Iraqi Islamic Party in Mosul was found near a hospital in the northern Iraqi city, a hospital official said.
Last month, security concerns prompted the Iraqi Islamic Party, a leading voice of the nation's minority Sunni Muslims, to pull out of -- but not boycott -- the elections.
# Department of Defense officials said 10,252 U.S. troops had suffered combat-related injuries since the Iraqi war began on March 19, 2003. Of those, 5,396 have been wounded seriously enough that they were unable to return to the battlefield, and 4,856 U.S. troops have been wounded and were able to return to duty in Iraq, according to the statistics.
# A U.S. soldier was killed Wednesday and two were wounded in a small arms and rocket-propelled grenade attack on their patrol in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, a U.S. military statement said. With the death, 1,340 U.S. troops have been killed in the Iraq war, including 1,055 in hostile action and 285 in nonhostile activity, according to the U.S. military.
# Near the Green Zone in Iraq's capital, a suicide truck bomb exploded Tuesday, killing eight Iraqi police commandos and two civilians. At least 60 other people were wounded, an Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman said.
# Near Baquba, three members of the Iraqi national guard were killed and two wounded in a bomb attack on their patrol Tuesday, a U.S. military official said.
CNN's Arwa Damon, Auday Sadik and Mohammad Tawfeeq contributed to this report.