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Suicide Bomber Kills 9 in Iraq

Iraqi police say a female suicide bomber has killed nine people and wounded 21 others in Baquba - north of Baghdad.

Officials say the attack occurred Wednesday outside a courthouse in the capital of volatile Diyala province. Five Iraqi soldiers, two of them officers, were among the dead.

In an earlier development, Iraq's foreign minister said the United States and Iraq are very close to finalizing a deal that would allow American troops to remain in the country beyond 2008.

Hoshyar Zebari spoke about the the status of negotiations during a joint press conference Tuesday with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte in Baghdad's protected "Green Zone."

The United Nations' mandate for the multi-national force to operate in Iraq expires December 31.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.