Suicide bomber kills 15 at Iraq Shi'ite funeral

BAGHDAD Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:09pm BST

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber blew himself up among mourners at a Shi'ite funeral in Iraq's Baquba city on Monday, killing at least 15 people and wounding 40 more.

A wave of bombings in June on Shi'ite pilgrims and religious sites has killed more than 130 people, reviving fears of a return to widespread sectarian violence in some of the bloodiest attacks since U.S. troops left Iraq in December.

The bomber on Monday detonated his explosives in a funeral tent where mourners, including several high-ranking armed forces members, were paying respects to the family of a Shi'ite tribal leader in Baquba, police and hospital sources said.

Violence has fallen since the height of the war, but bombings on Shi'ite targets are fueling worries Iraq risks slipping back, especially as the Shi'ite, Sunni and ethnic Kurdish parties in its government feud over sharing power.

Iraq's al-Qaeda wing, Islamic State of Iraq, has claimed recent attacks in an attempt to fuel tensions and undermine Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government.

Though weakened after years of war with Iraqi and American troops, the al Qaeda affiliate and allied Sunni Islamists are still a capable force. At least one major attack has occurred each month during the six months since U.S. forces left Iraq.

(Reporting by Baghdad newsroom; writing by Patrick Markey, editing by Diana Abdallah)

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