BAGHDAD, Jan 2: At least 19 people were killed in Iraq on Monday, including seven new police recruits blown up by a suicide bomber as they travelled on a bus.

The recruits were struck by a car bomb near Baquba, north of the capital, as they headed for the northern Kurdish region to undergo training. Thirteen recruits were wounded.

At least 12 more Iraqis were killed by insurgents elsewhere, including two children whose family was machine-gunned in a car and an ambulance driver shot through the head as he drove to a hospital, security officials said.

Monday’s death toll was in keeping with the daily average for the past year, according to government statistics.

On Monday, civilians killed included two boys, aged seven and 10, who died in a drive-by shooting when gunmen targeted their parents’ car south of Kirkuk.

The boys’ parents were wounded, while in an unconnected incident an ambulance driver in Kirkuk city centre was shot dead as he drove to hospital.

Three more men were shot dead while travelling in a car just south of Baghdad, near Iskandariyah.

Two Iraqi soldiers died when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb near Dujail, north of Baghdad. Another soldier was killed and an officer wounded in a drive-by shooting on the road between Baiji and Tikrit.

Two policemen were killed in an exchange of gunfire with rebels in Baghdad and another by a car bomb blast in Tikrit.

Meanwhile, Iraqi soldiers foiled a suicide attack on an army base north of Kirkuk, when the driver of a booby-trapped car, who had just dropped off a cameraman to film the attack, was shot as he approached the entrance.

The car then blew up killing both the driver and the cameraman stood nearby. There were no other injuries.—AFP

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