Female suicide bomber kills 22 north of Baghdad
Three bomb attacks killed 34 people and wounded dozens more in Iraq on Monday, underscoring the security challenges facing the next U.S. military commander in the country who takes over this week.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who earlier arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit, said Lt.-Gen. Ray Odierno must find ways to keep improving security while American troop levels are falling.
Gates will preside over a ceremony today to hand command of U.S.-led forces in Iraq to Odierno from Gen. David Petraeus, whose term was marked by a “surge” of 30,000 extra U.S. troops and big falls in violence.
In the deadliest attack on Monday, a female suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded 33 at a dinner celebration attended by police officers in Diyala province, police said.
Police said the officers were breaking the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Balad Ruz, 90 kilometres northeast of Baghdad. The dead included the town’s police chief Lt.-Col. Mohammed Ashraf and 10 other policemen.