A suicide bomber wearing a vest filled with explosives attacked Iraqi police recruits on Tuesday in former dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, killing at least 42, but possibly 60, and wounding over 100, officials said.
Ahmed Abdul-Jabbar, deputy governor of Salahuddin province, said the attack took place outside a police recruiting center where Iraqi men were lining up hoping to get a job. "Who else would it be but al Qaeda, who keep on slaughtering us," said Abdul-Jabbar. "They are the terrorists."
Abdul-Jabbar put the death toll at 42. Raed Ibrahim, head of the health department in the province, said 45 were killed and more than 150 wounded, while Interior Ministry sources in Baghdad said 50 people had died.
Salahuddin province, home to Saddam's family, continues to suffer frequent attacks by suspected Sunni Islamist insurgents opposed to the Shi'ite-led authorities in Baghdad. Tikrit is primarily Sunni.
Update On Wednesday a suicide bomber used an ambulance to attack a police compound in Baquba in central Iraq, killing up to 14 people, in the second attack on police officers in as many days. Scores more were wounded, among them a number of children of a nearby kindergarten. According to one report two attackers were involved. One stepped out of the ambulance and opened fire on guards at the entrance of the city's special security police centre before the vehicle was driven into the compound and detonated. Both Baquba - 65km north-east of Baghdad - and Tikrit are within what is known as the Sunni Triangle, a stronghold of Iraq's insurgency.