The death toll from the suicide attack at an election rally for a Sunni politician in Baqubah, the provincial capital of Diyala, has risen to 24, while more than 50 people are said to have been wounded. From Al Shorfa:
“A suicide bomber wearing an explosives vest managed to enter an election tent where a candidate was introducing himself to citizens in al-Tekiya in central Baqubah,” Lt. Col. Ali Abdullah al-Qaisi of Diyala police told Al-Shorfa.
“He blew himself up amid the crowd as the candidate spoke Saturday afternoon,” he said.
Another gunman threw a hand grenade shortly before the suicide bomber blew himself up, al-Qaisi said, adding that 24 Iraqis, including the candidate, four tribal chiefs and two security personnel, were killed while 51 others were wounded, mostly seriously, in the blast.
He said the death toll is likely to rise due to the serious condition of the wounded who are receiving treatment at Baqubah government hospital.
While no group has claimed credit for the attack, it was without a doubt carried out by Al Qaeda in Iraq. The al Qaeda affiliate has carried out two suicide attacks in the country so far this month. On April 1, an AQI suicide bomber rammed a truck packed with explosives into a police station in Tikrit, killing nine Iraqis. Just three days prior, AQI killed at least 23 people in a string of five bombings at Shia mosques in Baghdad and Kirkuk.
As noted here several times, AQI continues to recoup the losses it suffered during the surge, and has expanded its brand into Syria under the name of the Al Nusrah Front. See Threat Matrix report, Al Qaeda in Iraq launches suicide assault in Baghdad, for more information.
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