Suicide bomber kills 16, injures 33

By Sinan Salaheddin The Associated Press

BAGHDAD – A woman with explosives hidden beneath her black abaya detonated them yesterday in a crowd of about 200 police recruits northeast of Baghdad, killing at least 16 people, police and hospital officials said.

The woman walked into the crowd at the main gate of the Muqdadiyah police station and blew herself up, according to a police officer at the scene who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

At least 16 people were killed and 33 wounded in the mostly Sunni Muslim city about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad, said Dr. Abdul Salam al-Jibour at Muqdadiyah General Hospital.

Meanwhile, U.S. and Iraqi army forces were engaged in fierce fighting with gunmen in two Sunni-dominated neighborhoods of the capital, Fadhil and Sheik Omar, police and witnesses said.

An American helicopter in the battle came under ground fire but was not shot down, a senior U.S. military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because U.S. officials were still investigating.