Female bomber kills Iraq anti-Qaeda chief

19th bombing by women


Two suicide bombers, one of them a woman, killed a total of six people in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad on Monday, including a tribal chief with the Al-Sahwa (Awakening) militants fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Police said the woman went to the home of Thaer Ghadban al-Karkhi in Kanaan, southeast of the provincial capital Baquba, knocked on the door and told guards she needed to speak to him.

When Karkhi came to the door she detonated a vest packed with explosives she was wearing hidden underneath her robes, police said. Karkhi's niece was among the dead and two of his bodyguards were wounded.

Al-Sahwa units have been credited for sharp falls in violence across Iraq but have increasingly come under attack by al-Qaeda because they work with the U.S. military.

Al-Qaeda, blamed by the U.S. military for most large-scale bombings in Iraq, has increasingly used women wearing suicide vests to carry out strikes after tighter security and protective concrete walls made car bombings more difficult.

Female bombers have been involved in at least 19 attacks or attempted attacks since the war began, including the grisly bombings of two pet markets that killed nearly 100 people on Feb. 1.

The second bomber blew himself up at the gate of a police station in the town of Shaharban, north of Baquba, and killed two people, according to police.

Twenty people, two of them policemen, were also wounded in the attack.

"As the bomber tried to enter the gate of the police station compound, some policemen fired at him. He then blew himself up," Brigadier General Rageb al-Omeri said.