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15 mourners killed in funeral blast

A suicide bomber has attacked a funeral north of the Iraqi capital, killing at least 15 mourners, a government official said.

The bomber blew himself up inside a funeral tent in a farming area outside the mainly Sunni town of Taji, about 12 miles north of Baghdad, said interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan.

He said another 26 mourners were wounded in the attack.

The funeral was for the father of two members of pro-government Sunni militias known as Sahwa or Awakening Councils. The Sahwa militias began forming after the outbreak of Iraq's sectarian fighting in 2006, and allied with US troops against al Qaida in Iraq, a precursor to the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

The government later took over the militias, integrating some members in the security forces and disbanding others.

Iraq hopes to revive the militias to fight IS, which has exploited widespread Sunni discontent with the Shiite-led government. The extremist group seized much of northern and western Iraq over the summer and controls large areas of neighbouring Syria.

No one has claimed the attack in the Taji area but it bore the hallmarks of IS, which frequently targets Sunnis allied with the Shiite-led government.


From Belfast Telegraph