Iraqi guards kill female suicide bomber

Iraqi guards opened fire on a female suicide bomber on Sunday and triggered her explosives belt before she reached their headquarters, foiling the latest of more than 20 suicide missions by women this year, military officials said. The bomber was targeting the headquarters of an awakening council - Sunni volunteers who have turned against insurgents - about 96 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. One of the guards was wounded in the blast, the Iraqi military said. The number of female suicide attackers has risen from eight in 2007 to more than 20 so far this year, according to US military figures. Including Sunday's attack, at least nine have occurred in Diyala province, a former al-Qaida stronghold where the extremist group is trying to regroup after setbacks last year. A female suicide bomber struck outside a government complex a week ago in Baqouba, the capital of Diyala province, killing at least 15 people and wounding more than 40, according to US and Iraqi officials. The attacks are part of an uptick in violence against Iraqi security forces and local administrations.