Suicide attack on home kills at least 35

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The Independent Online

A female suicide bomber blew herself up yesterday among police officers who were celebrating the release of a comrade from US custody, killing at least 22 people, Iraqi officials said. Separate bombings in Iraq killed another 13 people.

The suicide attack happened in Diyala, a province northeast of Baghdad where Sunni insurgents have carried out persistent attacks despite security gains elsewhere in the country. The bomber targeted the home of a police commissioner who had been detained by American troops for allegedly cooperating with the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia.

Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim al-Rubaie, the military commander in Diyala, said most of the 22 fatalities were police and that 33 people were wounded in the evening attack in Balad Ruz, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Two police captains and three lieutenant colonels were among the dead, said a police officer who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

The US military confirmed that the bomber was a woman but gave a lower casualty toll, saying 17 Iraqis were killed, including the city's deputy chief of police, and eight other people were wounded.

Al-Rubaie said police had gathered to celebrate Iftar, the meal that breaks the sunrise-to-sunset fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, with Adnan Shukr al-Timimi, a police commissioner who was held at US-run Camp Bucca, a detention center in southern Iraq. Al-Timimi, who had invited friends and relatives to a banquet, and his parents and two children were among the dead, a hospital official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Al-Rubaie also said the attacker was a woman. Insurgents are increasingly turning to women to launch suicide attacks because they can conceal explosives more easily under long garments and evade searches by male security guards, and possibly because the male pool of suicide recruits is smaller than in the early days of the war.