Suicide bombing in Iraq kills 25


Baghdad : A suicide bomber walked into a large group of mourners gathered for a funeral in the Iraqi province of Diyala Monday evening and detonated the explosives strapped to his body, killing at least 25 people and injuring “many more”, police said.

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A police officer told the Voices of Iraq news agency that it was not immediately clear how many died or were wounded in the attack in central Jalawla, roughly 200 km north of Baghdad. “But,” he said, “the death toll will likely be high because of the strength of the blast.”

Al-Jazeera news channel subsequently reported that at least 25 people had been killed in the attack, but noted that police expected the number of dead to rise.

It was the fourth deadly bombing targeting Sunnis in central Iraq on Monday which began with a bomb attack on Sheikh Imad al-Halbusi’s family home in Fallujah, west of Baghdad. At least eight people, including two children, were killed in that attack, and nine were wounded.

Sheikh Imad had been the head of the local “Awakening Council”, the grouping of the Sunni tribe members who have joined with Iraqi and US forces to fight Sunni insurgents in exchange for training, funding, and weapons.

Hours later, twin bombs exploded in a crowded market in Abu Ghraib, some 25 km west of Baghdad. At least 10 people died in those blasts, and 11 were injured, police official Shakir Faza, told DPA.

“Most of the casualties were from the Awakening Councils,” Faza said.

It was the second attack on Abu Ghraib in as many weeks. On March 10, a suicide bomber killed 28 people only two kilometres away from Monday’s attack.

“The city is going through a perilous phase because of escalating disputes between political groups,” Namir Adil, a representative on Abu Ghraib’s provincial council, told DPA. “These attacks aim to scupper any reconciliation between the people of the city.”

Omar Abdel-Sattar al-Qaruli, a member of parliament with the Iraqi Islamic Party, an offshoot of Iraq’s Muslim Brotherhood, likewise said the attacks were a response to the government’s recent efforts to reconcile the country after years of sectarian violence.

“The groups that want violence in Iraq … do not want the national reconciliation to succeed,” al-Qaruli wrote on his party’s website Saturday. “Perhaps the security situation will continue to deteriorate this year and next year. The groups who benefit from this situation do not want international forces to leave.”

Meanwhile, the near-daily bombings continued in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, where Iraqi and US security forces have been battling insurgents on the city’s south bank and in areas west of the city.

On Monday, four police officers and two civilians were wounded in two bomb attacks, police there said.