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10 killed in suicide attack on Iraq campaign meet

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A coordinated attack involving a suicide bombing on a open-air election campaign meeting north of Baghdad killed at least 10 people on Saturday, officials said, two weeks before provincial polls.

The assault was part of nationwide violence that left 11 people dead and 27 wounded, some 10 years after the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein and aimed to usher in a stable democracy but instead unleashed brutal violence which continues to plague the country.

A militant had thrown a grenade on the meeting in the restive city of Baquba, 60 kilometres (35 miles) from the Iraqi capital, before a suicide bomber blew himself up, a police colonel and a medic at the city hospital said.

At least 25 people were wounded in the attack.

The meeting was for campaign workers who supported Muthanna Ahmed Abdulwahid, a Sunni Arab candidate for the Azimun Ala al-Bina (Determined to Build) list, a small local party.

Abdulwahid was not harmed in the attack, officials said.

Iraq has been plagued by violence against election candidates ahead of provincial council polls due April 20, with 12 hopefuls already killed in the run-up to the vote, according to an AFP tally.

The polls will be the first in Iraq since 2010, and come after the withdrawal of US forces at the end of 2011.

Also on Saturday, a civilian was killed and two anti-Qaeda militiamen were wounded a bomb blast northwest of Baghdad, while security forces found the corpse of a policeman who had been kidnapped near the capital a day earlier.

Ahead of the provincial elections, violence has spiked markedly, with 271 people having been killed in March, the highest such figure since August 2012.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130406/10-killed-suicide-attack-iraq-campaign-meet-1