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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 July, 2003, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Blast outside Iraqi police station
A pair of shoes lies at the scene of the explosion in Ramadi
The area has been the scene of a number of attacks
At least seven recruits to a US-backed Iraqi police force have been killed in an explosion near a police station in western Iraq.

More than 60 others were wounded in the blast which happened in the town of Ramadi some 100 km (60 miles) west of Baghdad.

The dead and injured were attending a graduation ceremony after more than a week's training from coalition forces.

Pools of blood covered the area and a light blue shirt worn by one of the Iraqi policemen lay tattered on the pavement.

Regulation black shoes issued to officers were also on the ground, some shredded by the explosion.

The bomb was placed at the foot of a street light, primed and detonated by remote control when scores of new recruits walked past.

An eyewitness said he saw one man blown off his feet.

Warning

Most of the injured were taken to Ramadi General Hospital where doctors were overwhelmed by the number of casualties.

It is not clear whether any Americans were among the injured.

"We were marching in a file as part of our training when a roadside bomb exploded," Ahmad Hammad, a wounded recruit, told Reuters news agency.

One elderly Iraqi - speaking in the hospital where the wounded were being treated - said: "That is what you get for working with the Americans. They have all been warned before."

Ramadi is a mainly Sunni Muslim region which has a history of support for ousted president Saddam Hussein.

It has also been the scene of a number of the attacks on US troops which have plagued the occupying forces since US President George W Bush announced the end of major hostilities on 1 May.

On Thursday, a two-vehicle convoy was targeted there by "an explosive device" which wounded six soldiers.

The US and British Governments blame the attacks on resistance fighters loyal to the old regime.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Clive Myrie
"Today's attack may put off recruits"



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