Suicide bomber kills 25 in northern Iraq

A suicide bomber has blown himself up outside an army recruitment centre in the northern Iraqi town of Rabia, near the Syrian border, killing 25 people and wounding 35, police said.

“An initial toll put the number of those killed at 25 and the number of those wounded at 35,” police General Said al-Juburi said from Mosul.

The victims were young men waiting to sign up to join the army, he said.

Insurgents have repeatedly attacked army recruitment centres across the country as thousands of young men, most of them unemployed, seek to join.

About 1 000 to 1 400 recruits are joining the new army every month, United States officials said.

US and Iraqi officials have long complained that foreign fighters entering Iraq largely cross into the country through Syria. Damascus denies the charges.

On Thursday, two US marines were killed in fighting near the town of Haditha, also close to the Syrian border, when their unit “came under attack by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades”, a brief US military statement said.

Two Iraqi soldiers were killed during the same operation, Iraqi officials said, and nine suspected insurgents were killed when US warplanes bombed buildings in nearby Cykla.—Sapa-AFP