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Suicide bomber kills 10 at funeral in northern Iraq
A suicide bomber in northern Iraq blew himself up at the funeral procession of a Sunni Muslim tribal sheikh on Sunday, killing at least 10 people and wounding 25, police said.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack but suicide bombers linked to al Qaeda, who have stepped up attacks this year, frequently target local Sunni leaders and followers considered supportive of Iraq's Shi'ite-led government.
The bombing took place in Muqdadya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, among a crowd of mourners in a cemetery. They had been escorting the body of Mudhher Ali al-Shalal, who was shot dead on Saturday by unidentified gunmen.
"As we were heading to the grave, a stranger ran towards the crowd and blew himself up," said Firas Ahmed, a relative of the deceased who was wounded in the leg.
"I was lucky because I was not at the front. The bodies of the killed and wounded people were everywhere."
Shalal was the son of another well-established tribal sheikh. His father had set up a local government-backed Sunni Sahwa militia opposed to al Qaeda.
Iraq is suffering its worst wave of violence in at least five years. Insurgents have increased bomb attacks and shootings against civilians and security forces.
The government says the civil war in neighbouring Syria is stirring violence in Iraq. It says groups mainly linked to the Iraqi wing of al Qaeda are trying to intensify conflict.
In a separate incident on Sunday gunmen shot dead another Sunni sheikh, Khalid Hammoud al-Jumaili, and his driver, police said. Jumaili's son was also wounded.
Jumaili was a leader of anti-government demonstrations in Falluja which erupted in December last year across Iraq's western provinces and have since dwindled.
He was in his way to a area where protesters have set up camp when gunmen intercepted his car and opened fire.
Sunday's killings were the latest in a series targeting local Sunni leaders.
On Friday police discovered the bodies of 18 men, including a Sunni tribal sheikh and his son, who had been abducted and shot in the head near Baghdad in an attack a senior security official said bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda.
[Source: Reuters, Baquba, Irq, 01Dec13]
War in Iraq
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