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Car Bomb Kills 46 at Baghdad Army Recruiting Office - 2004-02-11

A car bomb exploded in the early hours of Baghdad's Wednesday morning, killing at least 46 people in the second such bombing in Iraq in less than 24 hours.

The citizens of Baghdad were awakened by a massive explosion early morning Wednesday, less than a day after a car bomb killed more than 50 people south of the capital at a police station.

"At 7:25 this morning a vehicle, a 1991 white Oldsmobile Cutlass, drove in front of a line of young men who were joining the new Iraqi Army and he exploded the vehicle, said U.S. Army spokesman Major John Frisbie, speaking at the scene.

"It was a single driver of the vehicle, and he drove in front of the line coming down this road as the people were waiting for the recruiting station to open up. He detonated the bomb; it was [180-230 kilos] as we see it. It was a mixture of PE 4 [explosive] and artillery shells in the vehicle. The vehicle was completely destroyed," he said.

Rush hour traffic and a large crowd of people were on the street when the blast occurred, and a group of men angrily shouted at American soldiers wanting to know why this is happening.

Wrecks of passing vehicles blocked the streets around the entrance to the new Iraqi Army recruitment center.

Mohammed Hatem Abdullah, a taxi driver, was wounded by the blast that went off only a few cars away from him. He said the suicide bombers are attacking Muslims and killing innocent people. "They are killing Islam," he said, "killing people who want to eat and are looking for jobs."

The recruitment center is on the grounds of the former international airport and just a short distance from coalition headquarters.

Tuesday's blast ripped through a police station in Iskandariya just before midday, killing and maiming people and wreaking havoc on the neighborhood.

U.S. military officials have blamed past attacks on foreign fighters linked with al-Qaida and on Iraqi insurgents loyal to Saddam Hussein, who see the Iraqi police and others working with the new government as collaborators with the American-led coalition.