A female suicide bomber in northern Iraq killed three Sunni pro-American fighters and a civilian Monday, and fighting in east Baghdad left at least nine suspected Shiite fighters dead.
The bomber set off her explosives in Baqubah outside the offices of the Sons of Iraq, Sunni Muslim paramilitary groups allied with the U.S. Army, said a Sons of Iraq commander in Diyala province.
“The woman attacker tried to get inside the office that lies in the middle of the market. The guards at the first checkpoint stopped the woman and asked her to open her robes to check if she wore an explosive belt, but at this moment she exploded herself outside the office,” Abu Talib said.
As the Sunni Arab-led insurgency has lost fighters over the last year to pro-U.S. units, the militants have relied more on female bombers as a way to carry out attacks with an element of surprise.
In northeast Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi forces continued their fight against Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr’s Mahdi Army in Sadr City and neighboring districts. At least nine suspected militia fighters were killed, the U.S. military said. Iraqi police reported 19 Iraqis killed and 69 wounded in Sadr City since early Sunday.
Late Monday, a mortar shell or rocket crashed into a house near the headquarters of Sadr’s main political rival, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, a member of that group said. There was no word on casualties.
Two U.S. soldiers were killed when a bomb exploded during an operation in Salahuddin province north of Baghdad, the military said in a statement Monday. Two other soldiers, a pair of Sons of Iraq fighters and an interpreter were also wounded in the attack. The military did not give details of the incident.
At least 4,041 U.S. military personnel have died in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003, according to icasualties.org, an independent website that monitors military deaths.
The U.S. military also said a vehicle carrying U.S. soldiers was hit by a bomb in the southern city of Basra, causing casualties. Officials declined to give further information.
Meanwhile, Ali Hassan Majid, a former aide to Saddam Hussein known as “Chemical Ali” for his role in gas attacks against Kurdish villagers during the 1980s, was taken to a U.S. military hospital Sunday, the military said. Majid was listed in stable condition. The military gave no further information.
An Iraqi court in June sentenced Majid and two other former members of Hussein’s regime to death for their roles in the military campaign against the Kurds, which left tens of thousands dead.
Their executions have been held up by a dispute over whether the sentence against one of them, former Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad Jabburi Tai, should be commuted.
Times staff writers Saif Hameed, Caesar Ahmed and Saif Rasheed contributed to this report.