The group, Ansar al-Sunnah, said on its Web site that the bombing was in response to the Kurdish peshmerga militias, which "bowed their heads to the Crusaders and raised their spears against the Muslims and fought alongside the Americans against our people in Baghdad and Fallujah and elsewhere," quoted the Associated Press.
The unidentified suicide bomber slipped in with other potential recruits waiting in line in response to advertisements for the local police force. The power of the blast, which damaged several buildings and destroyed seven cars, was originally thought to be a car bombing before officials confirmed the bomber was on foot and wearing an explosive belt underneath traditional Kurdish dress.
The attack was the deadliest since a Feb. 28 suicide car bombing outside a medical clinic in Hillah, south of Baghdad, which killed 125 people.
"All I can remember is a huge explosion from behind which lifted me off my feet. The scene was like a slaughter house with body parts everywhere, heads, hands, eyes. It was terrible. Those who are doing this are animals because it is all against Islam," Abdul-Razaq Sarmab, one of the job applicants waiting in line, told Reuters.
Worried relatives searched for the family members at the hospitals, which became so overcrowded, staff members used a loudspeaker to give out the names and room numbers of the wounded. Students from the local university left classes early to give blood.
The recent wave of car bombings and violence has ravaged parts of the country since the Iraqi National Assembly approved a partial Cabinet on April 28. Over the weekend, 25 people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated an ambulance loaded with explosives at a funeral for a Kurdish Democratic Party official. Numerous car bombs exploded early in the week in Baghdad, killing dozens. In all, approximately 200 people have been killed since the new interim government was named.
The U.S. military said two American soldiers were killed in separate roadside bomb attacks in Baghdad on Tuesday.
A media report from Tokyo, meanwhile, said the Japanese government planned to withdraw its 550 soldiers from their non-combat role in Iraq in December.
Several American allies, including Ukraine, the Netherlands and Spain, have begun withdrawing their troops from Iraq. And Poland has said it will withdraw its forces by the end of the year unless the U.N. Security Council renews their mandate, reported the AP.