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Iraqi officials say at least 21 people died from a suicide bombing at a military recruiting center in Baghdad. (Jan. 9)
Tags:al qaeda in baghdad,ap,AP News,Associated Press,iraq army recruiting center,suicide bombing in iraq,violence in baghdad,violence in Iraq
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SHOTLISTAP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY1. Pan of ambulance heading to blast site at military recruitment centre AUDIO siren2. Various of volunteers for the military and police at blast site3. Wide of volunteers seated near blast site4. Mid of police and volunteers5. Various of volunteers6. Pan of ambulance speeding past7. Pick-up vehicle carrying volunteersSTORYLINEA suicide bomber blew himself up at a military recruitment centre in Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 21 people.The attack was widely seen as retaliation against the Iraqi government's campaign to retake two cities overrun by al-Qaida militants.The attacker detonated his explosives outside the recruitment centre in the city's central Allawi neighbourhood as volunteers were waiting to register inside, according to a police official.At least 25 people were wounded in the blast, he said.A hospital official confirmed the casualty numbers.There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suicide attacks are the hallmark of al-Qaida's Iraq branch, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.Its fighters last week overran parts of the key cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, both in Anbar province west of Baghdad, seizing control of police stations and military posts, freeing prisoners and setting up their own checkpoints.Iraqi troops, backed by pro-government Sunni militiamen, have since been clashing with the fighters and carrying out airstrikes against their positions in an effort to reassert control of the cities.Thursday's attack appears to be in retaliation against the military's offensive and an effort to dissuade potential new recruits from bolstering the Iraqi army's ranks.''A suicide bomber blew himself up among the volunteers. What crime have the volunteers committed?'' said witness Amar Ali on Thursday.Thursday bombing followed an attack late on Wednesday by gunmen who struck at army barracks in Diyala province, north of Baghdad, which killed at least 12 soldiers.