BAGHDAD, July 20: A suicide bomber blew himself up outside an army recruiting centre in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least eight people, as four Sunni Arab members of a commission tasked with drafting a new constitution resigned after two of their colleagues were murdered.
Meanwhile, Iraqis nationwide held three minutes of silence to commemorate victims of two of the most deadly recent bombings, as more violence killed four civilians, an Iraqi soldier and a police officer.
Speaking from a hospital bed, Rahim Ashuan, 18, who was among at least 26 would-be recruits wounded in the attack outside the main gate at the Muthanna recruitment centre, said he was in a state of shock.
“I was standing opposite the entrance to the base, near the park, where those wanting to join up are expected to wait as a safety measure, when a fat young man wearing a grey T-shirt called out for everyone to come forward to answer questions on how the centre worked,” said Ashuan, whose hair was singed and whose nose was bleeding.
“Just then I got scared and moved away with some of my friends. A few seconds later there was an enormous explosion and I was sent flying. I passed out and woke up here,” he said, adding he had come from the southern city of Najaf to join the army.
The blast came 10 days after another suicide bomber killed at least 21 would-be recruits waiting at the same gate.
Reacting to the killings Tuesday of two Sunni Arabs tasked with drafting the new constitution, four Sunni Arabs on the commission announced they were pulling out.
Mr Dhamin Hussein and Aziz Ibrahim were gunned down in Baghdad by unidentified gunmen and were among 15 prominent Sunni Arabs from outside parliament invited to work on the panel drafting the document.
A third Sunni Arab was also killed, though he was acting as an advisor to the constitution-drafting committee and was not a member as originally announced, a spokesman for Sunnis’ National Dialogue Council Salah al-Mutlaq said.—AFP