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Suicide bomber kills at least 20 at funeral in Iraq

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A suicide bomber killed at least 20 people by detonating an explosive belt at a funeral northeast of the Iraqi capital on Monday, security officials said.

The blast in Muqdadiyah, which was hit by revenge attacks on homes and mosques after a January suicide bombing, also wounded at least 40 people.

The bombing targeted a funeral for a well-known member of the Beni Tamim, one of the main tribes in Diyala province, where Muqdadiyah is located, officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but suicide bombings are a tactic almost exclusively employed in Iraq by the Islamic State jihadist group.

The Muqdadiyah attack came a day after bombings in a Shiite area of northern Baghdad killed at least 39 people and wounded at least 76, the deadliest attacks in the capital so far this year.

IS, a Sunni extremist group, said in an online statement that two of its suicide bombers carried out the Baghdad attacks.

IS also claimed bombings at a cafe in Muqdadiyah killed at least 20 people and wounded dozens in January, after which revenge attacks targeted Sunni properties in the area.

Human Rights Watch said Shiite militiamen abducted and killed civilians in the Muqdadiyah area after the attack, in addition to burning homes and mosques.

Iraq turned to Shiite militia forces in 2014 to help counter an IS onslaught that overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, and they played a key role in halting the jihadist advance and later pushing them back.

But they have also carried out repeated abuses during the conflict that ultimately feed mistrust of the government and are harmful to Baghdad’s efforts to reassert and maintain control in recaptured areas.



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