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Two suicide bombers posing as army recruits struck an Iraqi base just east of Baquba on Tuesday morning, killing at least 28 Iraqi recruits eager to enlist and wounding 63, according to police and medical officials in Diyala Province. The attack came as Iraqi troops prepared to reclaim large areas of Diyala that remain one of the last sanctuaries for insurgents.
The bombers, wearing belts packed with explosives, waded into a crowd of more than 200 recruits just after 8 a.m. and blew themselves up about 30 seconds apart in front of the headquarters of an Iraqi brigade where the recruits had gathered. The attack happened at the Saad military base, which is about 4 miles east of Baquba, the provincial capital.
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a fugitive former deputy to Saddam Hussein, predicts U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of next year, according to an audio recording broadcast Tuesday by Al-Arabiya television. A voice purported to be Al-Douri's said 2008 "will be the final and decisive year for the American presence in Iraq." President Bush "should leave Iraq and disclose the real casualties of the American troops in the last years," the voice added.
Al-Douri, former deputy chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Councila, a fugitive with a $10 million bounty on his head, has not been seen publicly since the fall of Saddam's regime in April 2003.
A state court in Germany on Tuesday convicted three men who it said were members of a terrorist organization of plotting to kill the Iraqi prime minister on a visit to Berlin in 2004.
The court, in Stuttgart, found that the men were members of Ansar al-Islam, a radical Islamist organization that has been linked to Al-Qaida, and that they conspired to murder Ayad Allawi, who was prime minister of Iraq at the time.
All three men received prison sentences, with the shortest being seven and a half years and the longest 10 years.
A U.S. Army deserter who fled to Canada three years ago was deported Tuesday, marking the first time a resister to the U.S war effort in Iraq has been removed by Canadian authorities.
Paula Shore, spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency, confirmed that Robin Long, 25, was deported. Long fled to Canada in 2005 to avoid serving in Iraq. He said the Army wanted him to participate in what he called an "illegal war of aggression in Iraq."
Justice Anne Mactavish of the Federal Court of Canada ruled in Vancouver, British Columbia, that Long could not provide evidence he would suffer irreparable harm if he was returned to the United States.