Deadly bombings strike funeral in Iraq

Suicide attacker targets funeral of son of Sunni Awakening movement leader in Baquba, killing at least 17 people.

     New figures show that nearly 950 people died last month in violence across the country [EPA]
    New figures show that nearly 950 people died last month in violence across the country [EPA]

    A suicide bombing at the funeral of an Iraqi anti-Qaeda fighter has killed 17 people and injured scores of others.

    The attack came as figures released on Sunday showed that nearly 950 people died last month in violence across the country.

    Three bombs went off at the funeral of an anti-al-Qaeda fighter who had been killed on Saturday near the confessionally mixed city of Baquba.

    The blasts went off at the graveyard in the village of Wajihiya where the funeral procession, which included relatives and tribesmen, for Mudher al-Shallal al-Araki had planned to bury the 27-year-old.

    Al-Araki had been a fighter in the Sahwa, an armed group formed of Sunni tribesmen. His father was also a leader in the Sahwa, and a sheikh of the Arakiya tribe.

    As of late 2006, the Sahwa began siding with US forces against al-Qaeda, helping turn the tide of Iraq's insurgency. Sunni fighters linked to al-Qaeda regard them as traitors and often target them for attacks.

    Deadly month

    Meanwhile, violence west of Baghdad on Sunday killed four other people, officials said.

    Police also discovered the bodies of 18 men on Friday, including a Sunni tribal sheikh and his son, who had been abducted and shot in the head near Baghdad. A senior security official said the attack bore the hallmarks of al-Qaeda.  

    The bloodshed was the latest in a months-long spike in violence that has left 948 people dead. Of that, 852 civilians, 53 policemen and 43 soldiers were killed, while 1,349 others were wounded.

    November was among the bloodiest months in Iraq since 2008, when the country was slowly emerging from its brutal sectarian war.

    Attacks hit all manner of targets across Iraq, from civilians visiting cafes, restaurants and public football pitches, to security forces and government officials in police stations, army bases and checkpoints.

    Officials have adopted an array of measures aimed at halting the attacks, focusing their efforts on resurgent al-Qaeda front groups emboldened by the war raging in neighbouring Syria.

    The violence comes ahead of the country's first parliamentary elections in four years, scheduled for April 30.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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