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TOLLS DIFFER IN WOMAN'S SUICIDE BOMBING

A suicide bomber detonated her explosives in a commercial area in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad on Sunday morning, the latest in a string of attacks by female bombers in Iraq.

Police said the assailant killed three people and injured five. But the U.S. military said only the bomber was killed and two people were injured.

The U.S. military said Iraqi soldiers noticed that the woman, who appeared to be a beggar, was bulky around her midsection. The soldiers ordered her to raise her hands, and as she raised one, they noticed an object with wires attached in her other hand, the military said in a statement.

Sensing the potential danger, the soldiers fired three rounds. The woman staggered back to a nearby shop, where the blast occurred, the military said. It was unclear why the death tolls differed.

The violence came as a U.S. military official said that insurgent assaults across Iraq had declined by more than 60 percent since a U.S.-led security offensive began a year ago.

Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, the top U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said that a year ago an average of 205 attacks occurred daily across Iraq. Last month, he said, the military tracked 82 attacks per day.

U.S. soldiers killed: The U.S. military reported Sunday that two U.S. soldiers were killed by small-arms fire north of Baghdad in Diyala province, where the Sunni insurgency remains potent.

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