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Iraqi Suicide Bomber Kills 8; Presidential Council Rejects Provincial Elections Law

Iraqi police say a female suicide bomber has killed at least eight people and wounded at least 20 others in eastern Iraq.

Police say the woman blew herself up Thursday in the city of Baquba, the capital of Diyala province. They say the attack targeted a patrol of U.S.-allied Iraqi guards.

Separately, officials say gunmen killed three members of a U.S.-backed neighborhood patrol group in an attack on a mostly Sunni neighborhood, Adhamiya, of northern Baghdad.

In other news, Iraq's presidential council rejected a draft provincial elections law, sending it back to parliament and most likely delaying U.S.-backed elections scheduled for October.

President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and Vice President Adel Abdel Mahdi, a Shi'ite, turned down the election plan Wednesday while Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, was abroad. Iraqi laws must be ratified by the three-member council.

Mr. Talabani said he could not accept a law that was approved by less than half the members of Iraq's 275-member parliament. He also reprimanded lawmakers for breaking procedure by using a secret ballot to vote on the issue of how to hold elections in the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Iraq's parliament approved the provincial elections law Tuesday - despite a walkout by Kurdish lawmakers. The Kurdish members of parliament were protesting the use of the secret ballot.

A White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said Thursday the U.S. hopes Iraq will hold elections this year, but that October is not realistic because of the delay with election laws.

Kurdish lawmakers want a referendum to determine who controls the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk. They object to the law's power-sharing agreement for the city's Arab, Turkmen and Kurdish residents.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.