A suicide bomber has killed at least 25 people and wounded more than 60 in an attack at political rally in the Iraqi city of Baqouba, two weeks before provincial polls, security and medical sources said.
Councilman Sadiq al-Huseini says the bomber detonated his explosives as candidate Muthana al-Jourani was hosting lunch for supporters on Saturday in Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad.
Jourani was not harmed in the attack, officials said.
A militant had thrown a grenade on the meeting in the restive city, before a suicide bomber blew himself up, a police colonel and a medic at the city hospital said.
A health official and police officer who provided details about the attack spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to speak to media.
Iraq has been plagued by violence against election candidates ahead of provincial council polls due April 20, with 12 hopefuls already killed in the run-up to the vote, according to an AFP tally.
The polls will be the first in Iraq since 2010, and come after the withdrawal of US forces at the end of 2011.
Also on Saturday, a civilian was killed and two government-backed militiamen were wounded a bomb blast northwest of Baghdad, while security forces found the corpse of a policeman who had been kidnapped near the capital a day earlier.
Ahead of the provincial elections, violence has spiked markedly, with 271 people having been killed in March according to an AFP tally, the highest such figure since August 2012.
(AFP, Reuters, AP)