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Page last updated at 20:50 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 21:50 UK

Suicide bomb kills Iraqi mourners

Iraqi police survey the scene of the attack in Bu Mohammed on 17 April
Bloodstained plastic chairs lay strewn around the scene of the blast

A suicide attack on a crowd of mourners in Iraq has killed at least 30 people and wounded many.

The attacker detonated his explosives in the Sunni village of Bu Mohammed near the city of Baquba, north of the capital Baghdad.

The funeral was for two members of a group fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq, whose dead bodies were found this week.

There have been a number of attacks in northern Iraq this week, with more than 50 people killed in Baquba on Tuesday.

After the apparent successes of the US troop surge and local groups taking on al-Qaeda, the number of deaths from insurgent attacks has been rising over recent months.

The monthly figure of people killed rose by 50% in March compared with the previous month, according to the Iraqi government.

I saw bodies scattered everywhere
Witness Ali Khalaf

A witness to Thursday's blast, Imad Abdullah al-Azzawi, told AFP news agency that the bomber blew himself up inside a mourning tent.

"There are bodies and body parts scattered everywhere. There is blood everywhere," he said.

Another witness, Ali Khalaf, told the Reuters news agency:

"Suddenly a fireball filled the funeral tent. I fell to the ground. I saw bodies scattered everywhere."

Earlier reports suggested the death toll was as high as 45.

'Reversible' situation

Earlier in the week, two sons of the sheikh in Bu Mohammed went missing, and their bodies were found on Wednesday.

Map of Iraq

The suicide attack targeted the two men's funeral.

Both had been members of a tribal movement fighting against al-Qaeda inspired groups, rather than alongside them.

In the past year, the movement has been credited with restoring security and government control to many areas.

But the militants are believed to have regrouped in two provinces north of Baghdad where a series of bombings have killed more than 100 Iraqis this week.

The most senior US commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus, recently told Congress that security had improved, but he added that it was still fragile and reversible.

The insurgents are proving the fragility of the gains that have been made here, the BBC's Crispin Thorold reports from Baghdad.


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