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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-325826 Iraq/Bombings (L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=7/10/2005

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=IRAQ/BOMBINGS (L-O)

NUMBER=2-325826

BYLINE=ALISHA RYU

DATELINE=BAGHDAD

CONTENT=

///// PLEASE WATCH CN WIRE FOR CASUALTY UPDATES AND UPDATE INTRO ACCORDINGLY /////

HEADLINE: Multiple Suicide Bombings in Iraq Kill Dozens

INTRO: Iraq's interim prime minister promised to investigate how a suicide bomber was able to infiltrate a Baghdad army recruitment center, which extremists have targeted several times before. Sunday's bombing at the center killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 40. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu reports, at least 31 people were killed in attacks that have shattered a relative lull in terrorist bombings in Iraq.

TEXT: For many people, the early morning attack at Baghdad's Muthanna Airfield recruitment station seemed like dj vu.

Witnesses say a suicide bomber killed dozens of people standing around him outside the station. In an Internet posting, the al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist group, led by Abu Musab al-Zaqawi, claimed responsibility.

In early May, the same station, near city center, was the target of another suicide bomber, who walked into the center and detonated explosives strapped to his body. At least 13 people were killed in that attack and there were other similar incidents at the station before May.

Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari expressed concern about the attack on Muthanna.

/// 1st JAAFARI ACT IN ARABIC - ESTAB AND FADE ///

Prime Minister Jaafari says he will consult with interior ministry officials about the obvious need to improve security around recruiting centers, especially at the Muthanna Airfield. The prime minister says that establishing a strong, credible Iraqi security force is vital to Iraqi hopes for an eventual withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops from the country.

Hundreds of potential recruits have been killed in suicide bombings in the past two years by extremists determined to keep Iraqis from joining the ranks of the U.S.-trained police and army.

Earlier this month, an attack on police commando recruits, left 11 people dead and at least 22 others wounded.

In the ethnically tense city of Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, a suicide car bomb exploded near a local government building. Further north, in the city of Mosul, a suicide bomber rammed his car into the motorcade of a district police chief.

The multiple suicide attacks were the bloodiest in a week, and follow the kidnapping and murder of an Egyptian envoy and attacks on diplomats from Bahrain and Pakistan.

Iraqi Prime Minister Jaafari has called for an investigation into the murder of Ihab al-Sherif. Al-Qaida in Iraq says it kidnapped and executed the Egyptian envoy as punishment for Egypt's good relations with Israel and the United States.

But at least one Iraqi government official has suggested that Mr. Sherif, who did not have bodyguards with him when he was kidnapped, may have had contacts with some Iraqi insurgent groups, which turned deadly.

The Iraqi prime minister says he has no information about the allegation. But he says, from now on, security would be boosted around all the foreign missions in Baghdad, and he urged senior diplomats to coordinate their movements with the interior ministry, so that they could be better protected. (SIGNED)

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