Page last updated at 16:41 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 17:41 UK

Female bomber kills nine in Iraq

The aftermath of the suicide attack on the market

A female suicide bomber has killed nine people and wounded 12 others in an attack on an Iraqi market, police said.

The attack took place in the al-Mafraq area west of Baquba in Diyala province, about 50 km (30 miles) north-east of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

The use of women to carry out suicide bombings has become a regular tactic of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The US military says there have been more than 20 suicide bombings by women this year in Iraq.

A BBC reporter in Baquba says women and children were among the casualties in Monday's attack.

Women recruits

Baquba is the capital of the restive Diyala province - one of the most dangerous parts of Iraq.

Seven people were killed in the province on Sunday in an attack on a Kurdish politician.

It has seen a series of suicide bombings by women over the past year.

Last month, 15 people were killed and 39 wounded by a female suicide bomber in an attack near the local government complex in Baquba.

Security officials say al-Qaeda has recruited women bombers because they are often subjected to lighter security checks than men.

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