20 killed, 54 wounded in suicide bombing in eastern Iraq

A total of 20 people were killed and 54 others wounded Saturday when a suicide bombing struck a rally of an election campaign in the city of Baquba, the capital of Diyala province in eastern Iraq, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

The attack occurred around noon when a suicide bomber blew up his explosive vest at a rally of the election campaign of Muthanna al-Jourani, a candidate for the secular bloc of Iraqia, in Baquba, some 65 km northeast of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the source said on condition of anonymity.

"Our reports said that 20 people were killed and 54 wounded by the attack," said the source, who earlier put the toll at 10 killed and 25 wounded.

The toll could rise again as ambulances and civilian cars evacuated the wounded to the different hospitals and medical centers in the city, the source said. Jourani himself was among the wounded, along with many local dignitaries and politicians, the source added.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. But such bombings were apparently an attempt by insurgent groups, including al-Qaida, to stir up sectarian strife among Iraqis ahead of the country's provincial elections scheduled for Aril 20.