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Suicide Bombings In Al-Hillah Kill At Least 20

Baghdad, 30 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Police say bomb explosions in the Iraqi town of Al-Hillah today killed up to 20 people and injured some 35 others.

Initial reports say two suicide bombers with explosives strapped to their bodies blew themselves up among crowds of Iraqi policemen or police recruits.

The attack in Al-Hillah, south of Baghdad, came as Iraqi forces yesterday launched an offensive against insurgents in the capital. The Iraqi government says some 40,000 troops plan to seal off the city to hunt for militants.

Earlier today in Baghdad, officials from one of Iraq's main Sunni Muslim political parties said U.S. troops have detained the head of the party.

Mohsen Abdul Hamid was reportedly detained, along with his three sons, at his home in western Baghdad. Hamid is the leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party. Party officials say no reason was given for the arrests.

The U.S. military in Baghdad was not immediately able to confirm the incident.

(Reuters, AP, AFP, RFE/RL's Iraq Service)