A suicide bomber who targeted a funeral ceremony for a soldier in Iraq has killed more than 20 people. At least two more attacks on Monday coincided with new UN casualty figures for June.
The UN said on Monday that more than 2,500 people were killed in Iraq over the last three months, as a series of attacks marked a similarly violent start to July.
Late on Monday, a suicide bomber targeted a mourning ceremony for an Iraqi soldier at a Shiite mosque in Muqdadiya, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of the capital Baghdad. Police said that 22 people were killed and more were trapped under rubble, with rescue efforts ongoing. The funeral was mourning the death of a member of Iraq’s security forces who was killed in a recent roadside bombing.
Another suicide attack at a coffee shop in nearby Baquba killed at least five people, police and health officials said on condition of anonymity.
In pre-dawn raids on Monday, gunmen wearing military uniforms kidnapped eight former members of a tribal Sunni militia and shot them dead. All eight were former fighters for the Sahwa militia, which fought with US troops against insurgents at the height of Iraq’s sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007. Police discovered their bodies in Tarmiya, 25 kilometers north of Baghdad, on Monday.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Three months, 2,518 dead
Monday’s string of attacks continues a broader three-month trend. The UN said on Monday that 761 Iraqis were killed in June. A further 1,045 were killed in May and 712 in April, taking the three-month tally to 2,518 people.
The UN said in its statement that most of the dead were civilians, with 131 policemen and 76 members of the Iraqi security forces also killed. Baghdad province was the worst hit, with 258 killed and 692 injured in June.
At the height of Iraq’s 2006-7 sectarian war after the US-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, monthly death tolls occasionally passed 3,000.
msh/ch (AFP, AP, Reuters)