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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 February, 2005, 19:20 GMT
Baghdad blast kills 21 recruits
An Iraqi guards the scene of the Baghdad blast
Security services have become prime targets for militants
At least 21 people have been killed in a blast at an Iraqi army recruitment centre in west Baghdad.

A suicide bomber killed the men as they waited to sign up to join the Iraqi national guard.

More than 50 Iraqis connected to security services have been killed in violence over the past two days as part of a continuing campaign by insurgents. In a separate incident, gunmen ambushed an Iraqi politician's convoy in western Baghdad, killing two of his sons.

Airfield attack

"To attack and brutally murder patriotic and innocent Iraqis on their way to volunteer to protect their homeland is a crime against all people of Iraq," said Thair al-Naqib, spokesman for interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

"We will fully investigate this incident and bring these perpetrators to justice," he added.

The Baghdad explosion took place at an army centre in the disused Muthenna airfield in Baghdad.

An official at the Yarmuk hospital said survivors had spoken of how a suicide bomber wearing a belt of explosives walked into the queue of potential recruits.

At least 27 people were also injured in the attack, the deadliest in the capital since last week's election.

On Monday, 25 police officers and recruits were killed in the cities of Mosul and Baquba, as they queued to be paid or to sign up for the service.

I will repeat it, even if these terrorists try to kill me again, peace is the only solution
Mithal al-Alusi
Iraqi politician

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday that he hoped Nato countries would soon offer more help in training Iraqi security forces.

He told British MPs that details might soon be revealed of how coalition forces hoped to hand over to the Iraqis.

Israeli advocate

The attack on politician Mithal al-Alusi, the secretary-general of the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation, came as he waited for his car in Baghdad.

"Yes, my two sons died and my bodyguard as well. It was a gunfire attack on my car near my house in Baghdad," the 52-year-old politician told the AFP news agency.

Mr Alusi has been condemned by hard-line Muslims for visiting Israel and espousing relations between Iraq and the Jewish state.

"I will repeat it, even if these terrorists try to kill me again, peace is the only solution. Peace with Israel is the only solution for Iraq. Peace with everybody, but no peace for the terrorists," said Mr Alusi.

His party fielded 25 candidates in the Iraqi elections. Mr Alusi said he hoped to win at least two seats.

One of four Egyptian communication workers taken hostage in Baghdad spoke of their relief on Tuesday after they were freed.

"All four of us are going to have a holiday in Egypt and we will then come back to Iraq to continue our work," said Ahmad Sueif, from the Egyptian embassy in Baghdad.

Bombing brings alarm to Baghdad's streets

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