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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 December 2006, 18:28 GMT
Iraqi police deaths 'hit 12,000'
Iraqi police
Iraq's police are a regular target for insurgent attacks
Some 12,000 police officers in Iraq have died in the line of duty since the US-led invasion in 2003, Interior Minister Jawad Bolani said.

The figure is from a total force of about 190,000 officers, he said.

The announcement follows a suicide bomb attack that killed seven policemen and wounded 20 others during a morning parade at a base north of Baghdad.

Correspondents say despite the risks, young Iraqi men see the security forces as one of the few sources of work.

The interior minister said 12,000 police officers have been killed since March 2003 - one death for every 16 officers.

Iraq's police are a frequent target for attacks, and are widely thought to have been infiltrated by insurgents.

Wave of attacks

Sunday's suicide bombing happened at a police parade ground in Muqdadiya, about 90km (56 miles) north-east of Baghdad.

The bomber is reported to have detonated his explosive vest as the officers were assembling.

Escalating violence in Iraq has prompted the US to re-examine its military policy in the country.

The US military said six US troops were killed in a wave of attacks on Saturday.

Three military police were killed and one wounded in Baghdad following a roadside bomb attack. Two soldiers died in separate attacks close to the capital.

Another soldier was killed and a second wounded in an explosion while operating in Diyala province, north of the Baghdad, the US military said in a statement.

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