43 dead in Iraqi bomb blast

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Monday, July 19, 2010

A suicide bomber killed 43 people in Iraq Sunday, injuring an estimated 40 more.

The attack occurred southwest of Baghdad and targeted members of a government-backed militia, Sons of Iraq, also known as the Sahwa, who were waiting to collect their pay. Early reports say the attacks killed at least three soldiers and injured an additional thirteen, while three accountants died and four more were wounded. It's not yet clear who the remaining casualties are.

A survivor of the bombing said that "[t]here were more than 85 people lined up in three lines at the main gate of the military base to receive salaries when a person approached us. When one of the soldiers tried to stop him, he blew himself up."

An Iraqi military official said that "[t]he suicide bomber blew himself up in the biggest group of Sahwa members. We generally let them enter the base in groups of 10 for them to get their salaries."

A second suicide bombing took place in Western Iraq, when an attacker fired upon Sahwa militants in Al-Qa'im before blowing himself up, killing three people, with six more injured.

Credit for the attacks has not yet been claimed, but al-Qaeda is considered the probable culprit.

The Sahwa movement is a Sunni militia group that split from al-Qaeda in 2006, and with US support have been one of the groups fighting al-Qaeda. In recent months, members of the militia have said that they have come under attack from other militant groups, and support from the Iraqi government has been reduced.