The death toll from an attack in southwestern Baghdad by a suicide bomber on a group of government-backed Sunni militiamen reached at least 39, with around 41 wounded, Iraqi police said on Sunday.
The suicide bomber attacked on militia as they lined up to be paid on Baghdad's southwestern outskirts, a source in the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.
The blast occured in the Sunni district of Radwaniya.
In Sunday's blast, the suicide bomber blew himself up among "Sahwa" militiamen, Sunni fighters who once allied with al Qaeda but swifted on U.S.-led invasion forces, in 2006/07.
"There were more than 85 people lined up in three lines at the main gate of the military base to receive salaries when a person approached us. When one of the soldiers tried to stop him, he blew himself up," a survivor, 20-year-old Tayseer Mehsen, said at Mahmudiya hospital.
"I lost consciousness and woke up to find myself in hospital."
Police put the number of dead at 39, but the Interior Ministry source said 43 had died. Conflicting death tolls are common in the chaos after an explosion.
All of the dead were Sahwa, while two soldiers numbered among the wounded, the Interior Ministry source said.
There has been a series of attacks against Sahwa leaders in Sunni areas around Baghdad in recent months, many attributed to acts of revenge.
Local militia leader Mohammed al-Anbari said it was possible the attacker came from within Sahwa ranks. "There were no strangers among us," he said.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 18 Temmuz 2010, 17:40