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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
Bomb kills 25 Iraqi army recruits
A suicide bomber has blown himself up among a group of Iraqi army recruits, killing at least 25 people and wounding 35, police have said.

The attack on Friday occurred in the northern Iraqi town of Rabia, about 80km (50 miles) north-west of Mosul and close to the Syrian border.

The man was wearing an explosive belt which he detonated, a police general told the Associated Press news agency.

Meanwhile, a special tribunal in Iraq has been questioning Saddam Hussein.

Infiltrated?

The suicide attack in Rabia is the latest to target police and army recruits.

The bomber detonated his explosives amid a crowd of recruits in a high-security area and may have been allowed to slip into the recruiting tent unopposed, AP reported.

Seriously injured victims were rushed to hospital in Mosul, some 10km (6 miles) away.

"I was waiting in the court in the middle of the recruitment centre with four of my friends when there was a blast behind us," survivor Raduane Muayyad said.

US officials say that an estimated 1,000 to 1,400 young recruits sign up to join Iraq's army each month, despite the danger of attacks.

The US is aiming to build up Iraqi police and security services to assume major responsibility for providing security and fighting insurgents within Iraq.

But a recent Pentagon report indicated that poor vetting procedures are allowing insurgents and criminals to infiltrate Iraq's ranks of recruit.

Up to 50% of units are thought to be incapable of tackling insurgents.

Saddam quizzed

Elsewhere, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was questioned by the special tribunal established to try the ousted president on war crimes charges.

Picture released of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein has faced several rounds of questioning
Officials said he was questioned over the suppression of a Shia uprising in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War.

Accusations that he personally ordered the brutal suppression of the revolt are expected to form part of the tribunal's charges against him.

Formal charges have already been filed in connection with the alleged killing of Shia villagers in Dujail in 1982, but no trial date has yet been set.



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