August 13, 2008 in Nation/World

Suicide bomber dressed as woman

Los Angeles Times
 

BAGHDAD – Insurgents, who have increasingly turned to women to stage suicide bombings, on Tuesday used a man dressed as a woman in a failed assassination attempt on a provincial governor.

The target, Gov. Raad Rashid al-Tamimi of Diyala province, escaped unharmed. But at least one other person was killed and several were wounded when the bomber’s vest exploded near the governor’s convoy.

The use of the man in disguise appeared designed to give the attacker easier access to his target.

It was the second suicide bomb attack in two days in Baqouba, the Diyala capital. On Monday, a 15-year-old girl blew herself up in Baqouba, killing a police officer.

Witnesses said the bomber in Tuesday’s attack was foiled by Iraqi soldiers stationed along the route. They apparently noticed something suspicious. U.S. Army Maj. Margaret Kageleiry said the soldiers shot at the bomber, which caused him to detonate his vest prematurely.

Iraqi officials said two civilians died and nine were injured. The U.S. military said one civilian was killed and nine people were wounded.

Al-Tamimi, the governor, said the bomber was walking along the sidewalk but headed into the street as the convoy neared.

“He tried to head toward us, but we were careful because suicidal attackers are common in Diyala,” al-Tamimi said, adding that everyone had believed the bomber to be a woman because he was wearing a long, flowing traditional abaya.

The military warned months back that al-Qaida in Iraq was finding it harder to recruit men and had turned to women to stage suicide attacks. At least 28 women have carried out suicide bombings this year, according to U.S. Army figures, compared with seven last year.

Women have been responsible for some of this year’s deadliest attacks, including a pair of market bombings in February in Baghdad that killed more than 90 people. On a single day last month, four women detonated themselves in incidents in Kirkuk and Baghdad, killing more than 50 people.


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