Suicide Bomber Hugs, Blows Up Sunni Leader

Iraqi politician killed at family gathering ahead of local elections

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 19, 2013 9:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – Sunni Muslim leader Younis al-Rammah died hugging a man at a family gathering in northern Iraq today. Turns out, the man wasn't a family member at all, but a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest. As he embraced al-Rammah, the bomber blew himself up, killing al-Rammah and four of his relatives, Reuters reports. "Body parts and human flesh covered the garden of the house where the attack happened," say local police. Six others were injured, reports the AFP.

No one has taken responsibility for the bombing, but authorities are pinning most recent attacks, which have spiked this year, on a local wing of al-Qaeda. The attack on al-Rammah, the leader of the moderate United Iraq Gathering party, comes a day before local elections in the Sunni-majority Nineveh province. Al-Rammah was not running, reports the AFP, but several of his party members were.

Hundrends of Iraqi protesters demonstrate against an election law they said reduced the number of seats in their province, Nineveh.
Hundrends of Iraqi protesters demonstrate against an election law they said reduced the number of seats in their province, Nineveh.   (AP Photo)
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