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Officials say at least 95 others were wounded in the attack, which took place during Friday prayers at a Sunni mosque in the mostly Shi'ite Turkmen town of Tal Afar in Nineveh province.
Witnesses say the bomber opened fire in the mosque and first shot the imam, before detonating his explosives. The imam, a member of a major Iraqi Sunni political party, had spoken out against al-Qaida in Iraq.
Tal Afar, which is near the northern city of Mosul, has been hit by attacks in the past, including one in July that killed about 35 people.
Iraq has seen a decline in violence during the past year, but attacks in and around Mosul have continued. On Friday, police say a car bomb killed a soldier at an army checkpoint near the city.
In other news, the United Nations refugee agency said Friday that so far, less than half of some 80,000 Iraqi refugees have left for their new homes in resettlement countries.
UNHCR officials say the vast majority of Iraqis (just under 62,000) were headed to the United States, with the remainder going to Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden and other nations.
UNHCR says only 33,000 departures have taken place so far and is urging countries to expedite the resettlement of refugees "particularly at risk."
Meanwhile, around 30 Iraqi asylum-seekers who were sent back to Iraq by the British government were refused re-entry to their homeland Friday. They were flown back to Britain. Ten others on the flight were admitted into Iraq.
Britain's Home Office could not say why the asylum-seekers were turned back but said it is working with Iraqi authorities to work through issues. The Iraqi asylum-seekers are now in a British detention center.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.