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BAGHDAD, Iraq - A woman strapped with explosives and disguised as a man blew herself up outside an Iraqi army recruiting center in a northern town Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding 30 in the first known attack by a female suicide bomber in the country's bloody insurgency.
Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility for the blast, saying in an Internet posting that it was carried out by "a blessed sister."
The attack in Tal Afar, where U.S. and Iraqi forces routed militants in a major offensive two weeks ago, demonstrated the difficulty of maintaining security in the towns in the large northwestern region stretching to the Syrian border, where insurgents are most active.
In Washington, President Bush predicted a surge in violence in Iraq before the Oct. 15 referendum on the new constitution, but said the militants would fail. "Our troops are ready for them," he said.
The woman was disguised as a man in a white dishdasha — a traditional male robe — and a kaffiyeh head scarf to blend in with the other applicants lined up to join the Iraqi army, which takes only men, said Maj. Jamil Mohammed Saleh in Tal Afar.