A car bomb exploded outside a police academy south of Baghdad during a graduation ceremony Wednesday, killing at least 20 people. Hours earlier, another car bomb killed two Iraqis in the nation's capital.
The death toll from insurgent attacks rose to more than 90 in the last four days. American and Iraqi leaders said the vote would go forward as scheduled despite the violence aimed at blocking the ballot.
"We will not allow the terrorists to stop the political process in Iraq," Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said.
The explosion in Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, was the latest attack against Iraqi security forces. Capt. Hady Hatef said it killed at least 20 people and wounded an unspecified number.
Polish Lt. Col. Artur Domanski, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Hillah, said at least 10 policemen were killed and 41 others were injured in the suicide attack.
+ In Baqubah, 30 miles northeast of Baghdad, a suicide attacker rammed his car into a joint police and Iraqi National Guards checkpoint, killing five policemen and wounding eight other Iraqis, said Maj. Neal O'Brien, a U.S. military spokesman.
The number of Iraqi policemen killed in the last four months of 2004 was at least 1,300, according to Iraqi Interior Ministry figures released Wednesday.
+ An explosives-filled car following a convoy of U.S. and Iraqi troops detonated in Baghdad's western district of Amiriyah, killing two Iraqi civilians and wounding 10, police officials said. No troops were hurt.
The Ansar al-Sunnah Army, a radical Islamic group with terrorist credentials, claimed responsibility for the attack. The authenticity of the claim could not be verified.
+ Gunmen killed Iraqi police Col. Khalifa Hassan and his driver in Baqubah, Dr. Ahmed Fouad of the Baqubah General Hospital said.
+ A U.S. soldier belonging to Task Force Olympia was killed and two were wounded after their patrol was attacked with small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire Tuesday in Tal Afar in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said Wednesday.
Also PRISONER ABUSE: U.S. Army doctors violated the Geneva Conventions by helping intelligence officers carry out abusive interrogations at military detention centers, perhaps participating in torture, according to today's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Medical personnel helped tailor interrogations to the physical and mental conditions of individual detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the report claims. It says medical workers gave interrogators access to patient medical files and that psychiatrists and other physicians collaborated with interrogators and guards who, in turn, deprived detainees of sleep, restricted them to diets of bread and water and exposed them to extremes of heat and cold.
The report is based on interviews with military personnel and on a review of documents released to the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act.
Pentagon officials said Wednesday that the report was inaccurate. But the Pentagon announced it was opening an investigation into FBI reports that military interrogators in Guantanamo abused prisoners by beating them, grabbing their genitals and chaining them to the cold ground.
MARINE CHARGED AGAIN: The Marine corporal charged with desertion after he claimed to be kidnapped last year in Iraq was again declared a deserter Wednesday when he failed to return to Camp Lejeune from a holiday leave.
Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun was required to return from authorized holiday leave by noon Tuesday, but did not report for duty in a motor pool, said Maj. Matt Morgan, a spokesman for the Camp Lejeune-based 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
SLAIN WORKERS' FAMILIES SUE: Families of four slain security contractors whose bodies were burned and dragged through the streets of Fallujah sued the workers' former company on Wednesday.
The families contend that the company, Blackwater Security Consulting, cut corners that led to the men's deaths last year.
The workers lacked proper equipment and personnel to defend the supply convoy, according to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.
A spokesman for North Carolina-based Blackwater said officials had not seen the lawsuit.