Female suicide bomber strikes Baghdad

November 24, 2008 4:30:41 AM PST
A female suicide bomber blew herself up near an entrance to the U.S.-protected Green Zone and a bomb tore through a bus carrying Iraqi government employees in separate attacks Monday, killing at least 18 people, Iraqi officials said. The violence during the morning rush hour came as Iraqi lawmakers prepared for a vote Wednesday on a security pact with the United States that would enable American forces to stay in Iraq for up to three more years under strict Iraqi oversight.

In the first attack, a bomb attached to a bus used by the Trade Ministry to ferry employees to work exploded shortly before 8 a.m. in eastern Baghdad, police and hospital officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Thirteen ministry employees were killed and three wounded, according to an official with the state-owned Iraqi shopping centers company who also spoke on condition of anonymity. The company is part of the Trade Ministry.

About 45 minutes later, a female suicide bomber blew herself up as she stood in line to be searched at a checkpoint near the Green Zone in central Baghdad, killing five people and wounding 11, according to an Interior Ministry official and an Iraqi officer who declined to give their names.

The U.S. military confirmed the death toll in the bombing near the Green Zone. It said the attack took place between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. and killed two Iraqi army members and three civilians. One civilian was injured, it said.

The Green Zone houses the U.S. Embassy and the Iraqi government headquarters.

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