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Suicide Bombing West of Baghdad Kills At Least Nine

Iraqi officials say at least nine people were killed Saturday in a suicide bombing in a town west of Baghdad.

A local government official says the bomber attacked a police checkpoint in the town of Hit (Heet). At least one of the victims was a police officer.

The bombing came as French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner visited Iraq for two days of talks with Iraqi officials.

French officials say the visit is part of France's effort to reengage Iraq and offer help in the rebuilding process.

Kouchner arrived in Nasiriyah Saturday to start his trip, hours after the southeastern city was hit with a rocket attack by militants. He met with Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, before traveling on to Baghdad to hold talks with President Jalal Talabani. Kouchner also plans to hold talks with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Kouchner is expected to open a new French diplomatic office Sunday in the northern city of Irbil.

In other violence Saturday, officials say three people were killed and seven others wounded in a roadside bombing in the central Iraqi town of Baquba.

U.S.-led coalition forces in Baghdad said Saturday they have captured a senior leader of what they called a "Special Groups criminal ring." The special groups designation is used by the military to describe Shi'ite insurgents backed by Iran.

The U.S. military says coalition forces also captured two men with suspected ties to al-Qaida in Iraq in operations Friday and Saturday near Baghdad.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.