Bomber strikes Iraqi courthouse

_44576164_iraqdiyala226170408.gifA suicide bomber has killed nine people at a courthouse in Baquba, capital of Iraq’s Diyala province, north of Baghdad, police say. Six security personnel were killed and about 20 people were injured in the attack, hospital officials said.

Diyala remains one of the most dangerous provinces in Iraq despite an offensive by US and Iraqi forces to drive insurgents out.

One witness reported that the attacker was a woman wearing a long black robe.

An official at Baquba’s main hospital said five Iraqi soldiers and one policeman were killed in the attack, as well as three civilians.

“We were inside the court building when we heard a thunderous explosion followed by people’s cries,” Abu Mohammed, a lawyer, told the Associated Press news agency.

“We rushed outside the building. We couldn’t see anything because smoke was everywhere.”

Suicide bombers have frequently targeted Iraqi government officials and security forces and more of the attacks are being carried out by women, say correspondents.

Diyala province had been a stronghold of insurgent forces until US and Iraqi forces launched an offensive in July, but attacks remain frequent.

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