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US Papers Mon: Female Bomber Kills 15 in Diyala
Latest of 21 female bombers this year; IED attacks, casualties down 90 percent
By CHRIS ALLBRITTON 06/23/2008 01:18 AM ET
Both the Washington Post and The New York Times lead the news today with word of the latest female suicide bomber in Diyala province, while USA Today reports that attacks and casualties from roadside bombs are down dramatically.

Over there
Ernesto Londoño of the Post reports on a dreadful attack by a female suicide bomber that killed at least 15 people, including several Iraqi cops, at a government building in Diyala province. The U.S. military said more than 45 were wounded. It was the second such attack this year in Baqoubah involving a female bomber. Women have carried out up to 21 attacks this year, the military says.

Richard A. Oppel Jr. of the Times has the story as well, and notes it was the most devastating of four attacks in Diyala on Sunday. A mortar volley also struck in Khalis, killing seven and wounding 12. Oppel puts the violence in context. Even though security has improved all over the country, bombs are still not uncommon. More than a dozen people were killed east of Fallujah last month. Last week, more tan 60 people were killed in the Huriya market. Four people died west of Kirkuk when a roadside bomb struck their car. Three Iraqi soldiers were killed by roadside bomb near Muqdadiya in Diyala on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Sam Dagher of the Christian Science Monitor plays a bit of catch-up on the peaceful subduing of Amara. (It's not his fault. His paper doesn't publish on weekends.) Dagher attempts to figure out Moqtada al-Sadr's chess moves in this match. "He's playing the survival game," says Mustafa al-Ani of the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center, a nonprofit think tank. "He understands there is no sympathy for the undisciplined members of his group." Dagher deserves credit for getting into Amara without American or Iraqi escorts and getting some of the Sadrists true feelings out of them.

USA Today's Tom Vanden Brook reports what everyone already seems to know: roadside bombs are down in Iraq. They're down almost 90 percent compared to last year, he reports. This being a Vanden Brook story, it wouldn't be complete without mentioning MRAPs, those hulking armored vehicles that Tom works into every story he writes, it seems. And this is no exception. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff credited the vehicles for keeping casualties lower. Iraqi assistance and improved surveillance also helps out. The bombers are getting craftier, though. Now they're just trying to knock the wheels off MRAPs so they can attack it while its helpless.

The Times's Steven McElroy reports that almost 2,500 ancient artifacts that had been looted from archaeological sites and Baghdad's national museum since 2003 have been seized in Jordan and returned to Iraq.

IN OTHER COVERAGE

New York Times
Brian Stelter examines why it's getting harder than ever for war correspondents on the networks to get their stories on air. According to data compiled by a television consultant who tracks these things, halfway through 2008, the three evening newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 for all of 2007. CBS has devoted the fewest. (Why? They have Lara Logan.) NBC has the most. (Why? They're stuck with Richard Engel.) CBS doesn't even have a full-time bureau in Baghdad anymore. Reporters for all three big networks said (anonymously) that they worry that after the November elections, their employers would pull out of Iraq.

William Kristol is not persuaded by MoveOn.org's new ad, expressing opposition to Sen. John McCain's candidacy because of his war stance. This is news?

Washington Post
The Post editorial board approves of a recent Supreme Court decision limiting the rights of two Americans in American custody in Iraq have to avoid being transferred to Iraq custody.

Wall Street Journal
No Iraq coverage today.

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