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American troops have fortified an outpost that eventually will become an Iraqi police station in Ramadi, officials said Friday. The compound, dubbed Outpost Apple, is to become the first major Iraqi police station in the Sofia area of the city.

Ramadi has been a center for insurgent attacks and is the capital of Anbar province. Just last summer, there were only three functioning police stations in the city, officials said. Now, there are 14, with another eight under construction.

The 16th Engineer Battalion worked on the Sofia police station, fortifying it with concrete barriers, sandbags and other protective measures.

“The Iraqi Police are performing more patrols, more independent operations, starting to become more self-sustained and needing us less every day,” said Sgt. Johnathan Hoggatt, with a military training team.

Police recruiting in the city also has improved in recent months, officials say. Only a few dozen recruits were signed up each month last year; more than 1,000 people applied in the first two weeks of January this year.

But the police are still targeted. Iraqi police officers on Wednesday shot and killed an insurgent allegedly after his suicide bomb vest failed to detonate near a checkpoint in the Jazeera suburb.

Police suspected that the man was wearing a suicide vest device before he entered the checkpoint and ordered the man to stop. The man tried to run away after failing to detonate the vest, but was shot and killed.

In another incident, three children were killed Tuesday when insurgents launched a mortar attack on Ramadi’s western police station, officials said.


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