(AFP) – Jul 24, 2008
BAQUBA, Iraq (AFP) — Eight people were killed and 20 wounded on Thursday when a female suicide bomber blew herself up as a Sahwa (Awakening) patrol passed in Baquba in eastern Iraq, police and medical sources said.
The attack was in the central New Baquba neighbourhood, and targeted a Sahwa patrol of Iraqi forces -- former insurgents recruited to fight Al-Qaeda in Iraq and paid by the US military.
One of the dead was local Sahwa leader Naim Al-Dulaimi, police said, while medical sources said women and children were among the wounded.
Awakening groups, whose members are each paid 300 dollars a month by the US military, have contributed to a reduction in violence across Iraq in recent months.
But Diyala province, of which Baquba is the capital, remains one of the most dangerous regions in the country. It was in Diyala that the phenomenon of women suicide bombers first appeared.
Military sources have indicated that the Iraqi army is preparing to launch a huge offensive involving 30,000 men in Diyala province, which remains a bastion of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
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