September 15, 2013 in Nation/World

Funeral attack part of deadly day in Iraq

Associated Press
 

BAGHDAD – A suicide bomber attacked a funeral Saturday in northern Iraq attended by members of an ethnic minority, part of a series of assaults that killed at least 25 across the country, officials said.

Iraq is weathering its deadliest bout of violence in half a decade, raising fears the country is returning to a period of widespread killing such as that which pushed it to the brink of civil war following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. More than 4,000 people have been killed in violent attacks since the start of April, including 804 just in August, according to United Nations figures.

In the suicide attack, the bomber detonated his explosive belt inside a tent during the afternoon ceremony held by members of the Shabak minority near the city of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.

Authorities said the blast in the village of Arto Kharab killed at least 20 people and wounded 35. The funeral was for a member of the Shabak minority who had died of natural causes, officials said.

The Shabaks are ethnic Turkomen and Shiite Muslims. Most of them live in villages east of Mosul, the provincial capital of the ethnically mixed Ninevah province that is predominantly Sunni Muslim.

There was no immediate claim for the funeral attack, but Mosul has been a hub for al-Qaida in Iraq in past years. Militants have used violence and intimidation to drive hundreds of members of minority groups out of the city.

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