Suicide bomber kills 21 at funeral in northern Iraq

The funeral was for a member of Iraq's Shabak minority, who have been targeted in the past by Sunni Islamist militants.

MOSUL, Iraq — A suicide bomber killed at least 21 people Saturday at the funeral of a member of Iraq's Shabak minority in the northern province of Nineveh, security and medical sources said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack, but Sunni Islamist militants in the past have targeted Shabaks, who are predominantly Shiite, warning them to leave the area.

Iraq's delicate sectarian balance has come under acute strain from the war in neighboring Syria, which has pitted mainly Sunni rebels against a leader backed by Shiite Iran.

"I was attending the funeral sitting with the women when we heard a huge explosion," said Umm Mohammed, who was at the funeral in Bartella, 15 miles east of Nineveh's capital, Mosul.

"When we went out, we found some men either killed or injured," she said.

Sunni Islamist insurgents, who view Shiites as non-believers, have been regaining momentum in Iraq in recent months, raising fears of a return to the scale of intercommunal violence that peaked in 2006-07 after the U.S.-led invasion.

About 800 Iraqis were killed in acts of violence in August, according to the United Nations. That is still well below its height, when the monthly death toll sometimes topped 3,000.


Join MSN News on social

Share your point of view with us on Facebook

Get the latest news and updates on Twitter

See photos and videos on tumblr