An eight-year-old girl, to be precise, which shouldn’t make it worse but somehow does.

An eight-year-old girl strapped with explosives has blown up and killed an Iraqi army captain, reports say.

The bomb was detonated by remote control, injuring four soldiers in addition to the one who died, an Iraqi Army spokesman said.

Local authorities imposed a curfew in the area and American troops launched a search for those responsible.

US soldiers confirmed that a young girl was involved in the attack, which took place near Youssifiyah, south of the capital, Baghdad.

An act of desperation by a losing side? Nah — follow the links in this post and remind yourself that we’re on familiar ground here, so much so that this isn’t even the first time I’ve used “rock bottom” for a headline in this vein. Observe the 24-hour rule, as the last time a story like this bubbled up it turned out both Iraqi and U.S. military sources were wrong, but it’s hard to see how they could have erred on this one if U.S. troops are already confirming that a girl was “involved.” Maybe the bomber was an adult and she was the decoy? That wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened in Iraq, either. Exit question: Was the poor girl indoctrinated before she was sent out, do you suppose, or did they simply wire her up and tell her to run along over to the nice Iraqi soldier and ask him if he has any sweets?

Update: As I said, it’s always worth observing the 24-hour rule with these things. Sky News now quotes military sources as saying she was around 16. Whew!