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Iraq: Baghdad explosion kills 31


A suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives detonated the vehicle near an Iraqi military base as soldiers changed shifts north of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 31 people and wounding more than 50, according to authorities.

The blast struck at around midday in the town of Taji, 25 kilometers north of Baghdad, an interior ministry official and a medic said.

Police said at least 19 soldiers are among the dead, and hospital authorities confirmed the casualties. However, officials warned that the death toll could rise further because several of the injuries were serious. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The blast struck as the base was holding a recruitment day to welcome potential new soldiers, events which have been frequent targets of militants intent on carrying out mass-casualty attacks in the past.

It was the second bombing in Taji in less than 24 hours. On Monday, police said a car bomb struck an army patrol not far from the site of Tuesday's blast, wounding eight people. Another bombing Monday near an outdoor market on Baghdad's outskirts killed four.

Suicide bombers frequently target members of the country's western-trained security forces. Although violence has ebbed in Iraq since the height of the insurgency, attacks still occur frequently.

Tuesday's bombing was the deadliest single attack to hit Iraq since July 24, when a series of coordinated blasts also in Taji killed 42 people, according to AFP.

(AP, AFP, Reuters)

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