Suicide truck bomber kills 15 in northern Iraq

MOSUL, Iraq Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:10am EDT

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MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - A suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives blew himself up in a village in northern Iraq, killing at least 15 members of the country's Shabak minority early on Thursday, police said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack, but Sunni Islamist militants have in the past targeted Shabaks, who are predominantly Shi'ite, and warned them to leave the area.

The attack took place in the village of Mwafaqiya in Nineveh province.

"At 6 am this morning, a suicide truck bomber detonated himself amidst the houses of my village," said Qusay Abbas, a former Shabak representative in the Mousl provincial council. "There are still some people under the debris of their houses".

Sunni Islamist and other insurgents including an al Qaeda affiliate have been regaining ground this year in an onslaught against Iraq's Shi'ite-led government and its allies.

Al Qaeda views Shi'ite Muslims as non-believers.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in acts of violence across the country this year, according to monitoring group Iraq Body Count.

Last month, a suicide bomb attack on a Shabak funeral in Nineveh killed 21 people.

(Reporting by Ziad al-Sinjary; Writing by Raheem Salman; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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