Sam Jones
London Guardian
August 18, 2010

At least 60 Iraqi army recruits and soldiers were killed and dozens more injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside an army base in the centre of Baghdad this morning.

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The attack – the deadliest in the Iraqi capital for weeks – comes as the US prepares to end its combat operations in the country, and amid growing fears that al-Qaida is seeking to exploit Iraq’s political turmoil to stage a comeback.

The blast took place around 7.30am just outside the former Iraqi ministry of defence building that now houses the army’s 11th division headquarters. The site receives about 250 new recruits each week as Iraqi forces try to bolster their ranks to fill the security vacuum created by the US military’s withdrawal after seven years of war.

Blown-off hands and legs could be seen among pools of blood at the scene, which Iraqi soldiers closed off. US helicopters hovered overhead as frantic Iraqis arrived to search for relatives.

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