A woman pretending to seek assistance from police detonated an explosives belt under her robe Sunday, killing 15 people in the busy civic center of Baqubah, police said.
At least seven Iraqi police officers were killed, and five other officers were among the 40 people injured in the blast in the capital of Diyala province, a police statement said.
The woman, about 35, parked her car near the provincial council building about 1 p.m. and was led by two policemen to a checkpoint, where she detonated the explosives, said Muhi Deen Auda, the owner of a nearby restaurant.
Although attacks across Iraq have fallen to their lowest level since 2004, U.S. officials warn that insurgent groups still have the ability to launch deadly assaults, particularly in Baqubah, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.
Despite repeated attempts by U.S. and Iraqi forces to pacify the area, Sunni Arab insurgents remain in the hamlets around Baqubah.
Once rare, suicide attacks by women have become more common this year as the ranks of the insurgency have thinned, U.S. officials say. This year at least 21 women have killed themselves in 19 attacks, including Sunday’s bombing, the military said.
Elsewhere in Iraq, three people were killed and two injured when a roadside bomb exploded Sunday in downtown Kirkuk, said police in the northern city, claimed by both Arabs and Kurds.
In the mixed city of Mosul, also in the north, a car bomb went off at a police checkpoint Sunday evening, injuring 14 people, authorities said. Four police officers were among those hurt.