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Iraqi Police Academy Attackers Not Women, Officials Say

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2005 – Contrary to an earlier report, two suicide bombers who killed at least 27 people and wounded at least 50 others today in a crowded courtyard at the Baghdad police academy were men, military officials reported.

"An ongoing investigation indicates the bombers, earlier reported as females, were male," a Multinational Force Iraq news release said.

Officials pointed out that suicide bombings by women have been rare in Iraq. Only two such bombings are known to have been carried out by women: one in September 2005 and another in 2003, officials said. The officials went on to note that the bombings were the worst violence for months in the Iraqi capital, where, they said, police officials are a favored target of Sunni Arab insurgents.

Though no U.S. military personnel were killed or wounded in the terrorist attack, officials noted, one U.S. contractor is among the wounded. No report on the contractor's condition was available.

Early reports, which indicated the bombers walked into a classroom full of students and detonated their explosives, are incorrect, officials said. Further investigations revealed that one of the suicide bombers detonated his explosives near a group of students outside a classroom, and that thinking the explosion was an indirect-fire attack, Iraqi police and students fled to a bunker for shelter, where the second bomber detonated his explosive-filled vest.

Task Force Baghdad military police rushed to the scene to help Iraqi police in assessing casualties and damage. As military and police forces secured the area around the academy, the wounded were evacuated to Baghdad's Kindi Hospital for treatment, officials said.

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