At least 35 die in Iraq blasts
Bombings in Baghdad and northeast of the capital killed at least 35 people Monday, Iraqi officials said.
At least 23 were killed and 30 were hurt in a suicide bombing in an evening attack in Balad Ruz, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad, said Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim al-Rubaie, the military commander of operations in Diyala province. Many of the dead were police. Acording to the AP, A police officer said the attacker was a woman.
Earlier, police and hospital officials said the death toll of a double car bombing in Baghdad to rose to at least 12. According to the AP, police said two explosives-laden cars blew up Monday in a central commercial district of the Iraqi capital.
The officials conveyed 36 people also were wounded and dozens of cars were burned or damaged in the Karradah neighborhood attack. According to them, one of the bombs exploded at a restaurant near the Karradah courthouse and the other near a passport office.
The blasts took place as US Defence Secretary Robert Gates made a surprise visit to Iraq, saying the new US commander will face a challenge. "We are clearly on a mission in transition," Gates told reporters on the flight to Baghdad. "There is no question we will still be engaged as we are, but the areas in which we are seriously engaged will I think continue to narrow," Gates said, according to AFP.
"And the challenge for General Odierno is how do we work with the Iraqis to preserve the gains that have already been achieved, and expand upon them even as the number of US forces are shrinking."