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Female bomber kills 11 outside Iraqi courthouse

Officials say the target of the Baqubah attack appears to have been Iraqi army Humvees parked nearby.

October 09, 2008|From the Associated Press

BAGHDAD — A female suicide bomber detonated an explosives vest Wednesday in front of a courthouse in Baqubah, killing 11 people and wounding 19, Iraqi officials said.

A man accompanying the woman failed to detonate his vest and was arrested at the scene, Diyala provincial council chief Ibrahim Ahmed Bajilan said.

"We were inside the court building when we heard a thunderous explosion followed by people's cries," said Abu Mohammed, a lawyer.

Abu Mohammed, who would give only his nickname, citing security reasons, said the target appeared to be Iraqi army Humvees parked nearby. He said about five shops in front of the courthouse were damaged.

Bajilan said local authorities had deployed more than 50 women in the area to search for possible female bombers but that more were needed.

Police and hospital officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they lacked authorization to comment to the media, said 11 people were killed and 19 were wounded in the blast.

Baqubah, about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, is a former stronghold of the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Iraq. It saw some of the fiercest fighting of the U.S.-led war until local Sunni tribal leaders who were fed up with the group's brutal tactics joined forces with the U.S. military last year.

Despite the security gains, there have been repeated attacks near the central courthouse, which, along with the provincial governor's office, is in a walled compound. A car bomb on April 15 killed about 40 people just outside the compound.

In Turkey, meanwhile, parliament voted to extend the military's mandate to carry out operations against Kurdish rebels operating in northern Iraq.

Lawmakers voted 511 to 18 to extend the mandate for a year. The move came less than a week after 17 soldiers were killed in an attack by rebels operating from Iraq.

Hours before the vote, unidentified assailants raked a police bus with automatic-weapons fire and hand grenades in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, killing four policemen and the bus' driver, Interior Minister Besir Atalay said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

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