Iraq: Suicide bomb hits funeral procession in Baghdad


A suicide bomber exploded a car near a funeral procession in south-east Baghdad this morning. At least 31 people were killed and around 60 wounded, officials told Reuters.

The explosion occurred at 11:00 AM in the Iraqi capital's Zafaraniyah district, the Associated Press reported.

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It came as relatives were carrying the bodies of a family killed the day before from a local hospital. According to Agence France Presse, Baghdad real estate agent Mohammed al-Maliki, his wife and his son were killed in west Baghdad on Thursday. Sources told AFP that they were murdered by gunmen, though that account has not been confirmed.

The bodies had reportedly been collected and were being taken for burial when the blast struck.

It is not clear if the bomber was targeting the procession or passers-by. One security official told Reuters the attacker may have initially sought to hit a local police station.

The latest attack comes a day after 17 people were killed in violence across Iraq, making it one of the deadliest days since coordinated bombings killed more than 60 people in Baghdad in December.

According to an AFP tally, more than 200 people have been killed in attacks since American forces completed their withdrawal on Dec. 18.

Most of those killed so far have been Shia pilgrims and members of the security forces, the AP said.

According to the news agency, seven of yesterday's casualties were in predominantly Sunni districts in Baghdad, which it says suggests that Shia militants are retaliating.

Some 60 percent of Iraqis are Shia, while the Sunni population hovers around 35 percent. Baghdad itself is a mixture of sects.

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