Bloodbath in Baghdad car bomb attack
BAGHDAD - A car bomb near a funeral procession outside a hospital in east Baghdad killed at least 28 people and wounded 50 on Friday, a doctor at the hospital said.
An interior ministry official confirmed the explosion in Zafraniyah, which struck at 11:00 am (0800 GMT), but said it was caused by a suicide attacker driving an explosives-packed car.
The blast hit the funeral procession of Mohammed al-Maliki, a real estate agent who was killed along with his wife and son a day earlier in the west Baghdad neighbourhood of Yarmuk, the doctor and interior ministry official said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.
The procession had collected Maliki's body and was transporting it for the funeral when the explosion struck.
Violence in Iraq is down from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common. More than 200 people have been killed in attacks since American forces completed their pullout on December 18.
Friday's attack came a day after violence in Iraq killed 17 people, and is the deadliest to hit the country in nearly two weeks, amid a political crisis pitting the Shiite-led government against the main Sunni-backed bloc, stoking sectarian tensions.
The row erupted when authorities charged Sunni Arab Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi with running a death squad and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, called for his Sunni deputy Saleh al-Mutlak to be sacked after the latter said the premier was "worse than Saddam Hussein".
In response Hashemi and Mutlak's Iraqiya bloc has largely boycotted the cabinet and parliament, and Hashemi, who denies the charges, has stayed in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region which has so far declined to hand him over.
The United States and United Nations have urged calm and called for dialogue but oft-mooted talks involving Iraq's political leaders have yet to take place.