Thu, Jan 05, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Suicide attack at funeral kills 32 mourners in Iraq


A suicide bomber killed 32 mourners and injured dozens at a funeral for the nephew of a Shiite politician, one of several attacks yesterday across Iraq that killed a total of 53 people -- making it the deadliest day since the Dec. 15 elections.

The increased violence came as Iraq's three major political parties were close to forming a coalition government that would include Shiites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds, according to a Shiite politician.

Iraq's election commission said it planned to release the results of its investigation into almost 2,000 complaints stemming from last month's parliamentary elections within the next two days.

More than 100 mourners were standing in a cemetery in Muqdadiyah, about 90km north of Baghdad, for the burial of a nephew of Ahmed al-Bakka when the bomber struck, the Diyala provincial police said. The cemetery was strewn with body parts and the tombstones were stained with blood.

At least 32 people were killed and 42 injured, said Dr Firas al-Nida of the Muqdadiyah hospital.

Al-Bakka had survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday that killed his nephew. Al-Bakka is the head of the local Dawa party, led by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and a main partner in the country's largest Shiite political coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance.

Shiites have been targeted by extremist Sunni groups.

A senior official in the Dawa party said such attacks are meant to exert pressure on the United Iraqi Alliance to accept a less optimal compromise in the formation of the government.

"We expect attacks to increase before the formation of the government," Ali al-Adib said.

A partner in the largest Sunni Arab party denounced the attack.

"The Islamic Party condemns such ugly acts that are aimed at dividing the country," Nassir al-Ani said. "The perpetrators want to cause divisions and hinder the political process in Iraq, but they will fail and we will establish a national unity government."

Insurgents attacked a convoy of 60 tanker trucks with rocket propelled grenades and machine guns, destroying three of the tankers and damaging 15 others, police Lieutenant Abdul Zahra Qassim said. Three Iraqi army vehicles, which had been guarding the convoy, were also destroyed in the attack about 40km north of Baghdad, police said.

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