Page last updated at 15:11 GMT, Sunday, 22 June 2008 16:11 UK

Suicide bombing rocks Iraqi city

Shocked woman in aftermath of Baquba bombing
Onlookers were left stunned by the suicide attack

Fifteen people have been killed and 39 wounded by a female suicide bomber in the northern Iraqi city of Baquba.

The bomber detonated the device in front of a group of policemen at the entrance to a local government and law courts complex.

A number of civilians are said to be among the casualties.

Previous bomb attacks in the Baquba area have been blamed on Sunni insurgents said to have links with the al-Qaeda network.

Doctor Ahmed Fuad, at Baquba's hospital, was quoted by AFP news agency as saying that among those killed in the latest bombing were eight policemen, two women and one child.

Several vehicles caught fire as a result of the explosion, while some nearby buildings were damaged by the impact.

Women recruits

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

Map of Iraq

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

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

Last Tuesday more than 60 people were killed in a car bomb attack in Baghdad. The Americans blamed what they termed renegade Shia militiamen trying to incite inter-communal violence.

It was the deadliest bombing in Iraq's capital for weeks, following a security drive by Iraqi and US forces.

Despite such attacks, overall levels of violence in Iraq are at a four-year low.

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