BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber killed 23 Iraqi army recruits and wounded 36 in Baghdad on Thursday, officials said, in an attack on men volunteering to join the government's struggle to crush al-Qaida-linked militants in Anbar province.

Brigadier General Saad Maan, spokesman for the Baghdad Security Operations Center which coordinates among military, police and other security organizations, said the bomber had blown himself up among the recruits at the small Muthanna airfield, used by the army in the Iraqi capital.

Maan put the death toll at 22 but health ministry officials said morgue records showed 23 had been killed.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred a day after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said he would eradicate the "evil" of al-Qaida and its allies.

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