BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber in a booby-trapped truck killed 10 Iraqi soldiers yesterday and leveled the unit’s headquarters.
The early-morning attack on an Iraqi Army intelligence battalion headquarters in eastern Diyala Province, about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, also wounded 30 people, including 15 troops, serving as a harsh reminder of the nation’s continuing instability.
Emergency workers were frantically trying to rescue victims from beneath the rubble of the destroyed army headquarters several hours after the deafening 6:10 a.m. explosion.
Diyala health directorate spokesman Faris al-Azawi said 10 soldiers were killed and 30 people wounded in the blast.
Azawi said the bomber drove his truck, packed with an estimated 1,700 pounds, past a security gate and detonated his explosives right outside the headquarters.
A second bomb was discovered nearby but was diffused by officials before it could explode.
A senior Iraqi intelligence official in Baghdad blamed the attack on Al Qaeda and said authorities believe the same cell of insurgents may have planned another strike in the capital but are looking for funding to carry it out.
In January, the Islamic State of Iraq, an Al Qaeda front group, claimed responsibility for two bombings at a security force headquarters in Baqubah that killed 10 people.
■ In Baghdad yesterday, protesters demanded the resignation of Iraq’s president for making comments they said could incite violence.
Hundreds gathered to call for the resignation of President Jalal Talabani after he described an ethnically mixed city in Iraq’s north as Jerusalem for Kurds, suggesting they must fight to keep the city in the semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rather than leaving it to rule by the majority-Arab Baghdad. Talabani is Kurdish.
“I don’t want to fight my Iraqi brothers over land that we have all owned for thousands of years,’’ car salesman Taha Hassan Ahmed said at the gathering in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, where hundreds of supporters signed petitions demanding Talabani’s resignation.
“Destabilizing Iraq will not serve Iraqis,’’ he said. “It will only serve the politicians who are acting as lords of war.’’
At issue is the city of Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, which Kurds and Arabs each claim as their own.
At a March 7 meeting of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Talabani urged his party faithful to continue pushing for the inclusion of Kirkuk in the Kurdistan region.