Bombing leaves dozens killed, wounded in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (Washington Post) -- A suicide bomber on a motorcycle plowed into a 
crowd gathered at the entrance of the police academy Sunday, killing 28 and 
wounding dozens more. 

Survivors recalled scenes of confusion and carnage in the bombing's aftermath, 
as ambulances tried to force their way through snarled traffic. Police fired in 
the air afterward -- either in confusion or, fearing a second bomb, to try to 
disperse people. 

A bombing Dec. 1 struck the same academy, killing 15 people, and some survivors 
of Sunday's bombing expressed anger at how vulnerable they still were. Scores 
of men had gathered under a bridge near the entrance, in hopes of becoming 
recruits. Survivors said police had left them waiting in the street for more 
than two hours without word on possible jobs. 

"We didn't know what as going on. They told us to come forward, then they 
pushed us back. Forward then back," said Ali Farraj, who had been trying to get 
admitted to the academy for three years. "They wouldn't tell us anything." 

The assailant detonated bombs that were strapped to both his body and the 
motorcycle. The attack came in a fortified part of Baghdad that is home to the 
Oil Ministry and other military and government offices. The entrance to the 
police academy was protected with blast walls, but the crowd, standing about 20 
feet away, was exposed to the traffic. 

The explosion follows a car bombing at a livestock market in the city of Hilla, 
south of Baghdad, Thursday that left 12 people dead. Although the number of 
such attacks had declined significantly and is at its lowest level since 2003 
and 2004, in recent weeks, there have been some dramatic attacks against U.S. 
soldiers and civilians. 

Also Sunday, U.S. military officials announced that the American forces in Iraq 
will be trimmed from 14 brigades to 12 by September, a reduction of 12,000 U.S. 
forces. Four thousand British troops also will depart. 

The pullback is part of President Obama's plan to remove U.S. combat troops 
before September 2010 and all troops by the end of 2011. 

At the police academy in Baghdad, there was little sign of Sunday's attack by 
the afternoon, save for shattered glass that littered the asphalt. A tattered 
poster left over from January's municipal elections hung from a bridge pillar. 
"With the blood of our martyrs, Iraq is liberated," it read. 

At al-Kindi Hospital, names of 58 wounded were scrawled on a piece of notebook 
paper attached to the gray marble entrance with surgical tape. Bystanders 
helped relatives who were illiterate look for the names of their family 

Anger and grief was all Samir Dawai said he felt, as he recovered inside. 

"I lost a lot of my friends," he said. 

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