Iraq election rally attack leaves 22 dead


Iraqis look at a crater near a policeman at the site of a car bomb that detonated near a Shiite mosque killing three people and injuring 70 others on March 29, 2013 in Kirkuk.


Marwan Ibrahim

A suicide bomber killed at least 22 and wounded dozens more during a political rally today in the Iraqi city of Baquba.

The bomber's explosives went off as Sunni candidate Muthanna al-Jorani hosted a lunch for supporters in a large tent next to his house, councilman Sadiq al-Huseini told The Associated Press.

A grenade was also thrown into the tent, wounding at least 50 people, BBC News reported.

No one immediately took responsibility, although a police officer who spoke anonymously said the attack was the hallmark of Al Qaeda militants trying to undermine confidence in the Shia-led government.

Militant violence has risen in recent weeks as Iraq prepares for provincial elections.

The vote is set for April 20, although it's been delayed in two Sunni Muslim-majority governorates due to security concerns.

It will be the first such elections in Iraq since 2010.

At least 10 candidates who had planned to run later this month have been killed. Most belonged to the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a secular Shia politician, according to Reuters.