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Bombers launch deadly attack at Baghdad funeral

An attack on a funeral in a Shiite-majority area of the Iraqi capital has killed at least 50 people in the latest sectarian incident to plague the country. The explosions came after a suicide attack on a police station.

Blasts were heard at about 5.30 p.m. local time (1430 UTC) on Saturday, as mourners gathered in a tent in the Sadr City area of north Baghdad.

Witnesses reported that one of the explosions came when a suicide bomber detonated explosives rigged to his vehicle after driving up to the tent. Another blast was attributed to a bomb left underneath a vehicle.

There were also unconfirmed reports of a third explosion as police, medical staff and firefighters gathered at the scene. At least 128 people were injured, according to one official source.

The bombings took place hours after insurgents launched an attack on a base used by police commandos in the city of Beiji, some 250 kilometers (115 miles) from Baghdad, killing seven people. Guards were able to shoot one of the attackers, but the others were able to detonate their explosive belts inside the compound.

Iraq has suffered a surge in violence in recent months with Sunni militants, including al Qaeda targeting members of the Shiite community. Sunnis complain of mistreatment at the hands of Shiite-led government security forces.

According to the United Nations, 1,057 people died in sectarian violence across Iraq during the month of July. The figure for August stood at 916.

rc/ipj (AP, dpa, Reuters)