News / Middle East

At Least 38 Dead as Iraqi Violence Surges

VOA News
Three attacks north of the Iraqi capital have left at least 38 people dead, including at least 22 mourners at a Shi'ite funeral service for an Iraqi soldier.

Authorities blamed the funeral attack in Muqdadiyah on a suicide bomber who set off explosives inside a packed Shi'ite religious hall. At least two dozen others were reported hurt.

In nearby Baquba, a suicide bomber struck a cafe, killing at least eight people and wounding about 20 others.

Earlier in the day, authorities say the bullet-riddled bodies of eight former government-allied Sunni militia fighters kidnapped from their homes over the past two days were discovered near the town of Mishada.

The victims were reported to have fought alongside U.S. troops against al-Qaida insurgents before the 2011 U.S. military pullout.  Since then, analysts say the ex-militia members have been frequently targeted in reprisal strikes.

Monday's violence erupted as the United Nations released data showing 761 people were killed nationwide in June.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said the vast majority of casualties were civilian.  Authorities reported more than 1,000 people killed in May, making it the deadliest month in nearly six years.

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