Iraq Recruit Center Bomb Kills 10

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Continuing the stream of violence, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside an army recruiting center in central Baghdad Wednesday, killing at least 10 people. Meanwhile, Sunni Muslim members on a committee drafting the new Iraqi constitution suspended their membership in the wake of a colleague's assassination.

Wearing an explosives belt, the suicide attacker detonated his charge at the entrance to a recruiting center at the defunct Muthanna airport in central Baghdad, according to police and medical officials.

The attack also injured at least 21 people, said Dr. Muhannad Jawad from Yarmouk Hospital. The recruiting center has been targeted multiple times in recent months, with the latest attack on July 10 killing 25 and wounding 47.

In other developments:

  • A U.S. helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in Taji, north of Baghdad, because of mechanical problems. No injuries were reported, a military spokesman said.

  • Ten explosions were heard Wednesday afternoon at the American military base in Ramadi's eastern neighborhood of Al-Ziraa, 1st Let. Mohamed Al-Obeidi of the city police said. It was unclear what caused the explosions.

  • Shiite members of the committee drafting the new constitution are pushing for a greater role for Islam in Iraqi civil law, members said Wednesday. That could erode women's rights in such matters as marriage, divorce and inheritance. Mariam al-Rayyes, a female Shiite Muslim member of the drafting committee, said Islam will be a "main source" for legislation in the new constitution and the state religion.

    Wednesday's violence came a day after two Sunni Arabs participating in drafting the charter — committee member Mijbil Issa and committee adviser Dhamin Hussein al-Obeidi — were gunned down as they left a Baghdad restaurant. A bodyguard was also killed.

    Issa was among 15 Sunni Arabs appointed to the committee last month to give Sunni Arabs a greater voice in preparing the constitution, which must be approved by parliament by Aug. 15.

    Two Sunnis had already quit due to insurgent threats, and with the death of Issa the others were considering withdrawing from the committee. Kamal Hamdoun, a Sunni member, said the 12 remaining members would meet Thursday with Sunni leaders and decide what to do.

    "Our membership has been suspended temporarily until tomorrow when we meet the committee that chose us," Hamdoun said. "We don't have security."
    • Joel Roberts

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