NEW: Two senior Iraqi military officials were the apparent targets, police say
In addition to 15 dead, 41 others are wounded, police say
The incident occurred during a funeral procession in central Baquba
A suicide bomber targeting two senior military officials blew up his explosive vest in Iraq’s Diyala province Monday, killing at least 15 people and wounding 41, police officials in Baquba said.
The incident occurred during a funeral procession for the brother of a prominent sheikh in the Shifta neighborhood in central Baquba, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Baghdad.
Dozens of mourners were gathering inside a tent to give condolences to relatives when the bomber entered the tent and detonated the explosives. Neither of the military officials – identified by police officials as Lt. Gen. Ali Ghaidan, commander of the Iraqi army’s ground forces, and Abdul Ameer al-Zaidi, commander of Diyala military operations – were killed, though at least three guards for Ghaidan died.
Police said they believe al Qaeda in Iraq was behind the attack.
The violence Monday comes after a particularly deadly week in the country.
Explosions on Wednesday primarily struck Shiite pilgrims, killing nearly 100 people, wounding hundreds more and raising the specter of renewed sectarian violence. Wednesday was the deadliest day in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew from the country at the end of December.
Sunday was also a deadly day for Iraqis as 32 people were killed and 68 others were wounded in two car bomb explosions that targeted Shiite pilgrims.