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Suicide bombers infiltrate ministry, 29 Iraqis killed

Two suicide bombers disguised as senior police officers killed 29 people on Monday after infiltrating one of Baghdad's most heavily fortified areas.

world Updated: Jan 10, 2006 03:38 IST

Two suicide bombers disguised as senior police officers killed 29 people on Monday after infiltrating one of Baghdad's most heavily fortified areas, but died before getting near the US Ambassador, senior Iraqi officials and hundreds of others attending National Police day celebrations.

The escalating violence following the December 15 elections -- at least 498 Iraqis have been killed, including 355 civilians and 143 security forces -- came as Iraq's electoral commission again postponed releasing information on last month's contested elections. An Internet site known for publishing extremist material from Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi carried a claim of responsibility for the attack, saying it was in revenge for the alleged torture of Sunni Arab prisoners at an Interior Ministry jails.

"The lions of Al-Qaeda in Iraq were able to conduct a new raid on the Interior Ministry, taking revenge for Allah's religion and the Sunnis, who are being tortured in the ministry's cellars," the statement said. It was posted on an Internet site commonly used by militant groups and could not be independently verified. The claim referred to reports that more than 100 abused prisoners were recently found in two detention facilities run by the Shiite-led Interior Ministry -- bolstering complaints by Sunni Arabs about abuse and torture by Interior Ministry security forces. Another statement purportedly by al-Zarqawi rebuked Sunni Arabs for taking part in last month's parliamentary elections, saying they had "thrown a rope" to save US policy.

First Published: Jan 10, 2006 01:05 IST