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Last Updated: Monday, 13 June, 2005, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
Iraq's police under fire
Since its conception, Iraq's fledgling police force has been a constant target of the insurgency.

A policeman searches the scene of a suicide car bombing in Baghdad
Iraq's police face almost constant danger
Militants have targeted police stations, and dozens of officers have been kidnapped and later executed, or even tortured to death.

Some of the most brutal attacks have been directed against new recruits, with the declared purpose of preventing Iraqis from joining. Even so, the force has survived and grown in number, propped up by US support and the Iraqi government.

Who are the men who have volunteered for what is arguably the most dangerous job, and what are their impressions of their work? BBC Arabic spoke to three young Iraqi policemen - this is what they had to say.

Lieutenant Barzan, 24, single:

I chose to join the police force to serve my country and because it places me in direct contact with the people. I preferred to work in the rescue patrols for precisely that purpose. Some people, even during the former regime, never like to see policemen on the streets.

I believe that the deployment of Iraqi police on the streets contributes to the return of the rule of law. I love my work, which I began before the fall of the regime, and it has had a very positive effect on my life.

I feel great pain when I hear of an attack targeting a police patrol. Why do they attack us? Our role is simply to help people and preserve security.

How many countless times have we rushed to take the ill or wounded to hospitals? What is it that is negative in our work that we deserve to be attacked?

AH, aged 28, married with one child:

I used to work as a cab driver, and I volunteered to join the police in order to make a living. My family opposed this at first, but they understand now that my main motivation is to make a living.

My life is exhausting, and I feel danger whenever I go to work. But I also feel the beauty of it when people thank me for services provided.

People in the area I live in have begun to know that I am a policeman, and I feel worried about that.

We have been well trained to face various dangers, and there aren't any difficulties facing me at work.

Anonymous, aged 24, married

I used to be a soldier in the former army, and I volunteered to join the Iraqi police approximately one year ago.

I read verses from the holy Koran before I head to work, and I never wear the police uniform when I leave home.

I realise the dangers involved in my work, but I feel no boredom as I find that I am serving people.

Death has become routine and I do not fear it.

If I ever feel scared while on the job, how would citizens be able to come to me to feel safe?

Whenever a blast occurs in Baghdad, my wife calls me to make sure I'm safe, and I call my colleagues as well.

After a hard day's work, I go back home and hardly get any rest as power is usually out for hours.



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