27 police killed in twin Baghdad suicide attack

Two women suicide bombers blow themselves up in police academy classroom in east BaghdadMiddle East Online
Two women suicide bombers blow themselves up in police academy classroom in east Baghdad.
BAGHDAD – At least 27 Iraqi police officers and cadets were killed on Tuesday when two women suicide bombers blew themselves up in a Baghdad police academy classroom, the US military said.

"Two suicide bombers attacked an Iraqi police academy in east Baghdad around 12:45 pm (0945 GMT)," the military said in a statement.

According to initial reports, at least 27 police officers and academy students were killed and another 32 wounded in the attack, which comes just nine days before Iraq holds parliamentary elections, it said.

"Two females, each wearing a suicide vest, walked into a classroom at the academy and detonated in the midst of students," the statement said.

It remains unclear how the two women were able to breach heavy security in place around the academy, where roads have been sealed off by Iraqi police in a bid to prevent such bombings.

Women, however, are not always subject to the same stringent security checks as men in largely conservative Iraq where it is deemed inappropriate for male guards to frisk women or girls.

The deadly blast came after 19 Iraqi soldiers were killed in an ambush just north of the Sunni Muslim flashpoint town of Baquba on Saturday.

The insurgency that continues to plague Iraq more than two years since the US-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein has frequently targeted security forces in a bid to derail efforts to restore a semblance of security.

Homegrown Iraqi security forces are said to number around 210,000, but government officials have repeatedly warned against the danger of a premature withdrawal of the foreign troops in the country.

Approximately 160,000 US troops are based in Iraq, with increasing calls back home for a sharp reduction in US force levels over the next year.