By Ali al-Rubaie
HILLA, Iraq, Sept 29 At least 40 people were
killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shi-ite Muslim
funeral in a southern Iraqi town on Sunday.
The blast brought down the ceiling of the mosque in
Mussayab, 60km (40 miles) south of the capital Baghdad. Police
said some bodies were still trapped beneath the debris. At least
50 people were wounded.
Those inside had been mourning the death of a man killed a
day earlier by militants.
"Until now, we are trying to retrieve bodies from under the
debris. Most of the bodies were torn to pieces. Legs and hands
were scattered on ground," said a policeman at the scene.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the bombing,
which is the latest in a spate of attacks targeting both Sunni
and Shi'ite places of worship, particularly during funerals.
Iraq's delicate sectarian balance has come under growing
strain from the civil war in neighboring Syria, where mainly
Sunni Muslim rebels are fighting to overthrow a leader backed by
Both Sunnis and Shi'ites have crossed into Syria from Iraq
to fight on opposite sides of the conflict.
Al Qaeda's Iraqi and Syrian branches merged earlier this
year to form the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has
claimed responsibility for attacks on both sides of the border.
Suicide bombings are the hallmark of al Qaeda.
Several other attacks in recent weeks also suggest that
Shi'ite militias, which have so far largely refrained from
retaliating, may once again be resorting to violence.
More than 6,000 people have been killed in acts of violence
since the start of the year, according to monitoring group Iraq