BAGHDAD – A suicide bomber detonated her explosives Sunday in eastern Iraq amid U.S. and Iraqi troops who were investigating an earlier attack. The blast killed one U.S. soldier and at least four Iraqis.
It was the worst attack among a smattering that occurred across Iraq, including one at a crowded bus depot in Baghdad that left four people dead.
The attacks came as U.S. and Iraqi negotiators tried to finalize details of an accord laying out the future for U.S. troops in Iraq. The pact is needed because the United Nations mandate guiding the U.S. presence in Iraq is set to expire at the end of the year.
In comments on Iraq’s Alhurra television, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the pact “is about to be finished” and probably would be presented to Iraq’s Parliament when lawmakers returned from their summer break early next month.
Zebari said Iraq was pressing for a clear timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, but he did not mention dates. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said he hopes U.S. combat troops can be gone by the end of 2010, leaving behind only advisers and support troops.
Sunday’s attacks showed the challenges still facing the 140,000 U.S. forces in Iraq and the Iraqi security forces who ultimately will have the task of protecting the country.
Police in Tarmiya, site of Sunday’s deadliest attack, said the attack was two-pronged. First, a bomb was detonated inside a house belonging to a member of the Awakening, a movement of civilians working alongside U.S. and Iraqi forces to secure their communities. When U.S. and Iraqi security forces responded to the attack, a woman wearing an explosive vest rushed toward them and blew herself up.
Maj. Tahmir Dulaimi of the Tarmiya police said at least 10 people died. A U.S. military statement said that one of the dead was an American soldier and that two other U.S. troops were wounded. It said at least four Iraqis were killed.
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