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At least 26 dead in Iraq suicide attack


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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A suicide bomber killed at least 26 people on Friday in an attack on an army recruiting center in the northern Iraqi town of Rubia, police told CNN.

The bomber blew himself up among a group of recruits, police said.

At least 30 people were wounded, police said.

Rubia is near the Syrian border, and the spokesman said that authorities temporarily closed border crossings after the attack.

Iraqi police and army facilities have been a frequent target of insurgent attacks.

On Thursday, two Marines were killed when insurgents fired small arms and rocket-propelled grenades at their unit during combat operations in Cykla, the U.S. military said in a statement issued on Friday.

Cykla -- located in Anbar province about 120 miles west of Baghdad -- is the same village where Marines launched an airstrike Thursday against insurgents after they and Iraqi forces were ambushed while on patrol.

Nine insurgents, including five identified as Syrians, were killed in the clash. (Full story)

The military did not say whether the two Marines were killed in the same incident.

Also, a Task Force Baghdad soldier died about 11:30 p.m. Thursday when the vehicle he was driving was involved in a single-vehicle accident off base in central Baghdad.

He was pronounced dead at an Iraqi hospital.

The deaths bring the number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq to 1,786.

U.S.: Terror leader captured

U.S. and Iraqi forces on Friday announced the capture of a suspected al Qaeda terror cell leader for the Mosul area in northern Iraq.

A military statement said that Ammar Abu Bara, aka Amar Hussein Hasan, was captured Wednesday in a northern Mosul neighborhood, during a cordon and search operation conducted by U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, a military statement said.

No coalition or Iraqi injuries were reported during the operation, the statement said.

Constitution under construction

Meanwhile, Iraqi transitional assembly members were working to cobble together a new constitution by the August 15 deadline so the legal framework can be put before voters in a referendum later this year.

Assembly members have said they expect to have the document done in time. They plan to announce by Monday if they will seek a six-month delay.

Earlier this week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, visiting Baghdad, urged Iraqis to finish the constitution on schedule.

A Human Rights Watch official Thursday urged the drafters of Iraq's new constitution to honor "the full range of women's human rights consistent with Iraq's international obligations."

Janet Walsh, the group's acting women's rights director, detailed her concerns in a letter dated Thursday to Humam Hamoudi, chairman of the constitution-writing committee.

Other developments

  • The Iraqi Special Tribunal's chief investigative judge on Friday disclosed that an investigative court on Thursday questioned former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in a hearing concerning the 1991 repression of a Shiite-led uprising in southern Iraq after the Gulf War. (Full story)
  • Insurgents bombed a train Thursday in southern Baghdad, killing two people and wounding four, an Iraqi police official said. The train was pulling fuel tanker cars to a refinery when the bomb exploded, the official said.
  • The U.S. ambassador to Iraq said the United States will work with Iraqi officials and other diplomats to see what can be done to improve security for Baghdad's foreign envoys. Zalmay Khalilzad made the comments Thursday, a day after militants said they killed two Algerian diplomats kidnapped last week in Baghdad.
  • CNN Producers Enes Dulami and Cal Perry contributed to this report.

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