A suicide bomber blew herself up Monday among police officers who were celebrating the release of a comrade from U.S. custody, killing at least 22 people, Iraqi officials said. Separate bombings in Iraq killed 13 other people.
The suicide attack happened in Diyala, a province northeast of Baghdad where Sunni insurgents have carried out persistent attacks despite security gains elsewhere in the country. The female bomber targeted the home of a police commissioner who had been detained by American troops for allegedly cooperating with the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia.
Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim al-Rubaie, the military commander in Diyala, said most of the 22 fatalities were police and that 33 people were wounded in the evening attack in Balad Ruz, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad.
The U.S. military confirmed that the bomber was a woman but gave a lower casualty toll, saying 17 Iraqis were killed, including the city's deputy chief of police, and eight other people were wounded.
Insurgents are increasingly turning to women for suicide attacks because they can conceal explosives more easily under long garments and evade searches by male security guards, and possibly because the male pool of suicide recruits is smaller than in the early days of the war.
In Baghdad, a double car bombing struck a busy commercial district, killing 13 people in one of the deadliest attacks in the capital in weeks. Iraqi officials said the explosives-laden cars were parked between a passport office and a courthouse when they blew up almost simultaneously in the mainly Shiite neighborhood of Karradah.
Encouraged by security gains, authorities several months ago lifted a ban on parking vehicles in the area that had been imposed to prevent such attacks.
The U.S. military blamed the Baghdad attacks on al-Qaida in Iraq.