Update: 21 killed in suicide bombing at funeral near Baghdad

December 30, 2014 1:16 am 

BAGHDAD, Dec. 29 — Up to 21 mourners were killed and some 50 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack targeting a funeral tent in a rural area near the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Monday, an Interior Ministry source said.

The attack occurred before noon when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest inside the tent at a village in the mainly Sunni area of Taji, some 20 km north of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The funeral was for a leader of a government-backed Sahwa paramilitary group who was killed in battles with the Islamic State (IS) militant group, the source said.

The Sahwa militia, also known as the Awakening Council or the Sons of Iraq, consists of armed groups, including some powerful anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent groups during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The groups turned their rifles from the U.S. forces to al-Qaida network after rifts appeared between the Sunni tribes and the extremist al-Qaida group which adopted hardline Islam and exercised indiscriminate killings against both Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities.

Earlier the source put the toll at five killed and 21 others wounded by the blast.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Iraq has been witnessing some of the worst violence in years. A total of 5,576 civilians were killed in the first half of this year, with 11,666 more wounded, according to a United Nations report. (PNA/Xinhua)

LAP/EDS

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