At least five people have been killed after a bomb blast hit a social gathering in northern Iraq.
The attack took place early Wednesday morning in the town of al-Hadr in Nineveh Province. The social gathering was hosted by the United Iraq Party whose leader and four of his relatives were killed in the attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack which happened on the eve of provincial elections in Iraq. Electoral officials are to hold provincial elections in the northern and western provinces of Nineveh and al-Anbar on June 20 after authorities delayed the polls in those provinces due to security concerns. There has recently been an upsurge in violence across Iraq, and the authorities say Qatar and Saudi Arabia have had a hand in some of the deadly incidents. As recently as Tuesday, 31 people were killed in two coordinated bomb attacks inside and near a Shia Muslim mosque in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. On June 16, at least 51 people lost their lives and many others were injured in a series of bomb attacks and a shooting across the violence-hit country. The United Nations says a total of 1,045 people were killed and nearly 2,400 were injured in violent incidents across Iraq in May. Earlier this week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Iraq Martin Kobler called on the Iraqi leaders to “sit together” to address the country’s problems, including car bomb attacks throughout Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said that militant groups and the remnants of the former Ba’athist regime are responsible for the latest wave of violence.