Thursday, February 26, 2009

Girl, 13, blows herself up in Iraq

Girl, 13, blows herself up as bombings kill 33 in Baghdad
By Mail Foreign ServiceLast updated at 1:26 AM on 11th November 2008
A girl suicide bomber aged only 13 has killed five U.S.-backed security patrolmen and wounded 11 other people when she struck in Iraq.
The attack came at a checkpoint in Baquba, 35 miles north-east of Baghdad in the volatile Diyala province.
It came on a day when more than 30 died in Iraq. In Baghdad, another suicide bomber struck in a crowd that had gathered to help after two car bombs damaged a bus full of schoolgirls.
Nine-year-old Abdulla Mohammed is helped by a medic in a Baghdad hospital. He'd been in a crowd which was attacked by a suicide bomber. The group had gathered where an explosion went off moments earlier
It was the deadliest outrage in the Iraqi capital in weeks, with 28 people dead and 68 wounded.
The triple attack in Baghdad took place in the Kasra neighbourhood on the east bank of the Tigris River in an area of tea shops and restaurants near a fine arts institute.
Male and female students, many of whom were having breakfast at the time of the strike, were among the dead and wounded, as were Iraqi soldiers and police who had rushed to the scene.
Street-front restaurants were filled with rubble and cars reduced to twisted steel.
Such co-ordinated and massive strikes have become rare but steady reminders of the capacity of militants to unleash mayhem in Iraq, even though they no longer control whole swathes of towns and villages and violence overall has fallen sharply.
Iraqis inspect the site of the Baghdad suicide attack in a popular market area
The attack by a female suicide bomber in Baquba is part of a trend that has increased this year.
U.S. forces say al Qaeda Sunni Islamist militants are increasingly recruiting female bombers - often teenage girls - to thwart security checks.
Many of the female bombers have lost male relatives and are seen as psychologically vulnerable to recruitment for suicide missions.
Al Qaeda and like-minded groups have been driven out of many parts of Iraq after local Sunni Arab tribesmen turned against them, but they are making a stand in northern areas such as the rural areas near Baquba.
They often target the mainly Sunni U.S.-backed security patrols, whom they view as collaborators.
The continuing attacks show the determination of extremist groups to continue the fight against the U.S.-backed government and lie behind U.S. military concern about drawing down the 151,000-member U.S. military force too quickly.
A still unratified security agreement with the U.S. would keep American soldiers here until 2012.
President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to withdraw all combat troops within 16 months of taking office Jan. 20, although he has said he would consult with the Iraqi government and U.S. commanders before ordering any drawdown.

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