BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber in restive Diyala province killed at least 25 people, many of them police recruits, on Tuesday in the second major bombing in Iraq this week.
A man with explosives hidden beneath his traditional robe blew himself up near a group of recruits in Jalowla in northern Diyala, where a U.S.-Iraqi offensive is being waged against the last major insurgent stronghold near the capital. The province northeast of Baghdad is now one of the deadliest in the country.
Tuesday's explosion and another in Baghdad Sunday that killed about 25 people come as Iraq is experiencing some of the lowest levels of violence since the war began. The Iraqi government is using the improved security as part of its rationale for demanding that all U.S. troops withdraw from the country by 2011.
The dead in Diyala included at least 15 of the new police officers. More than 46 people were injured, officials said. Jobs in the police force are prized in Jalula, a mostly Sunni Arab town of 67,000 people with a substantial Kurdish population, because unemployment is high, said the local police chief, Col. Ahmed Mahmoud Khalifa.
A Kurdish brigade that was recently in control of that part of Diyala area left about a week ago at the request of the Iraqi government. The city is recruiting security forces to protect the area.