BAGHDAD — Iraqi officials said 41 people were killed and 112 wounded today in a suicide bombing strike against Iraqi army recruits in Baghdad.
The morning blast targeted recruits lined up outside an Iraqi army division headquarters in the heart of the capital.
Two police officials said at least two soldiers were among the dead and eight among the wounded.
Officials at four Baghdad hospitals confirmed the casualties.
The attack came a day after a Sunni-backed coalition that won the most seats in Iraq’s parliamentary election said that it would suspend power-sharing talks with the nation’s incumbent Shi’ite prime minister, accusing him of turning political bickering into a sectarian issue.
A spokeswoman said the Iraqiya political alliance would break off government formation talks with the rival State of Law coalition until its leader, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, apologizes for a TV interview in which he portrayed the group as representing only the interests of Iraq’s Sunni minority.
Iraqiya’s leader, former prime minister Ayad Allawi, is a Shi’ite, but the coalition narrowly won the most seats in the March 7 election thanks to strong Sunni support.
A lawmaker with Maliki’s coalition defended the prime minister’s description of Iraqiya as a Sunni bloc.
Also yesterday, four Iranian pilgrims and an Iraqi were killed when a car bomb exploded next to their bus north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials said. The bus was on the highway just outside the town of Muqdadiyah headed toward Baghdad 60 miles away when the car exploded.
There is a steady flow of Iranian pilgrims into Iraq to visit its hallowed Shi’ite shrines, and they are often targeted by Sunni militants, especially in former insurgent strongholds such as Diyala Province, where the attack took place.
The US military, meanwhile, provided further details about a brazen robbery of four foreign commercial ships anchored off Iraq’s southern coast last week. Iraqi naval authorities chased the assault rifle-wielding bandits up the Shatt al-Arab waterway leading from the Persian Gulf, “resulting in the capture of one of the getaway boats, a portion of the stolen goods, and the arrest of two suspects,’’ said the statement. Iraqi officials insisted thieves, not insurgents, were behind the bold robberies, which they said do not pose a larger threat to commercial traffic in the strategic Persian Gulf waters.