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Bombers Kill Dozens Of Iraqi Recruits

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowd of army recruits Tuesday in a former al Qaeda in Iraq stronghold northeast of Baghdad, killing at least 28 people, Iraqi police said.

The blast at the Saad military camp in Baqouba, 35 miles from Baghdad, also wounded at least 47 recruits, a police official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The U.S. military confirmed the attack, saying it occurred around 8 a.m.

Diyala province around Baqouba has been one of the few remaining violent areas in Iraq after offensives against extremists in the south, Baghdad's Sadr City and Mosul in the north.

Iraqi military officials said this week that they plan an offensive in the region soon to rein in remaining militants. U.S. military officials have said they will support that effort, which they called an enhancement of existing patrols and actions there.

On June 22, a female suicide bomber concealing explosives beneath her black robe struck outside a government complex in Baqouba, capital of Diyala province. At least 15 people were killed and more than 40 were wounded.

A car bomb across the street from the same compound killed at least 40 people in April.

Tuesday's attack on the recruits came on the heels of a graduation ceremony for some 650 cadets from four Iraqi military academies in Baghdad - an occasion that underlined what U.S. officials say is the growing self-sufficiency of Iraqi forces.

The Monday ceremony was attended by Gen. David Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq. Petraeus told the cadets that Iraq needs less help from the U.S. military but promised that the United States remains ready to assist when needed.

A total of 4,800 Iraqis have graduated from the academies over the past three years.

In other developments:

  • A German court has convicted three Iraqi men of plotting to kill Iraq's then-Prime Minister Ayad Allawi during a visit to Germany in 2004. The Stuttgart state court convicted Ata Abdoulaziz Rashid, Mazen Ali Hussein and Rafik Mohamad Yousef on Tuesday of attempted participation in murder and of membership in the terrorist organization Ansar al-Islam, a radical Islamic group linked to al Qaeda. The men were given prison sentences ranging from 7½ to 10 years at the end of a trial that began in June 2006.
  • Police in Baghdad said assailants in a speeding car threw a grenade at traffic police on Monday, killing three people and wounding 13.
  • Gunmen in Baghdad also killed two members of a Sunni force allied with U.S. troops, police said.
  • The U.S. military said a Marine based in the western province of Anbar died Sunday in a "non-combat related incident." A statement said the incident was under investigation, and the name of the Marine was withheld pending notification of his family.
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