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Page last updated at 18:26 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 19:26 UK

Suicide bombing kills 22 in Iraq

Aftermath of car bombing in Karrada district of Baghdad (15 September 2008)
Earlier blasts targeted a courthouse and passport office in central Baghdad

At least 22 people have been killed and 32 hurt by a female suicide bomber who blew herself up at a police gathering in Iraq's Diyala province, police say.

The guests were attending an Iftar banquet, when Muslims break their fast during the month of Ramadan, in Balad Ruz, 70km (45 miles) north of Baghdad.

Officials told the BBC the party was being held by a policeman to celebrate his recent release from US detention.

Earlier, two car bombs exploded in central Baghdad, killing 12 people.

The blasts were in the busy Karrada district, near a courthouse and passport office.

Security forces targeted

Local sources said a police officer was holding a large party to celebrate his release on Monday from a US-run detention centre, Camp Bucca, when the suicide bomber walked into his home.

Map

Some of the wounded were taken to a joint US-Iraqi base nearby for treatment.

Suicide bombers have frequently targeted the Iraqi police force.

The BBC's Mike Sergeant in Baghdad says there have been fewer attacks across the country in recent months, but in Diyala province the level of violence is still relatively high.

There has also been an increase in attacks carried out by female suicide bombers, our correspondent says.

Earlier, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said the challenge in Iraq was how to preserve and extend security gains at a time when the number of US troops there was falling.

Visiting Iraq for the eighth time in the past two years, Mr Gates said the US military's presence in Iraq was now a mission in transition, with more responsibility being passed to Iraqi forces.


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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Washington Post Iraq Bombings Leave 30 Dead: Blasts Target Policemen in Diyala, Military Personnel in Baghdad - 7 hrs ago
Fresno BeeBombs kill at least 35, Iraqis say - 15 hrs ago
San Francisco Chronicle Bomb-rigged bike kills 2 outside Baghdad - 18 hrs ago
Denver Post Female suicide bomber kills 22 - 18 hrs ago
Altoona Mirror Iraq: bombs kill at least 35 - 21 hrs ago
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