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Iraq

Suicide bomb in Iraq hits Shabak minority area

A suicide bomber has detonated a truck packed with explosives in a village in northern Iraq, killing more than a dozen people. The area of the blast is mainly populated by the ethnic Shabak minority.

At least 15 people were killed early Thursday in the residential area of Al-Muwaffaqiyah when a suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives, police said.

The village, east of Mosul in the province of Nineveh, is mainly populated by members of the 30,000-strong Shabak minority. The group, which lives mostly near Iraq's border with Turkey, and speak a distinct language, are predominately Shiite.

"At 6 a. m. this morning, a suicide truck bomber detonated himself amid the houses of my village," said Qusay Abbas, a former Shabak representative in the Mosul provincial council.

"There are still some people under the debris of their houses," Abbas said.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack, however Sunni Islamist militants have targeted Shabaks in the past.

The latest wave of attacks by the Sunni Arab minority on Shiites has raised fears that Iraq could see violence return to levels not seen since 2006-2007, when tens of thousands of people lost their lives.

According to UN estimates, attacks killed 979 people in September, one of the country's highest monthly tolls in at least five years.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in acts of violence across the country this year, according to monitoring group Iraq Body Count.

hc/kms,ipj (Reuters, AFP)