Man disguised as cleric behind Iraq attack: official

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The mayor of the Iraqi town where a suicide bomber killed 42 people at a funeral said on Thursday that the attack was launched by a man disguised as a cleric.

The bomber struck Wednesday at a Shiite mosque in Tuz Khurmatu, 175 kilometers north of Baghdad, targeting the funeral of the relative of a politician.

The blast killed 42 people and wounded 75 others in the deadliest single attack since July 23.

"The suicide bomber who targeted the funeral procession was wearing religious clothes and a turban and he entered the hall and blew himself up," Shallal Abdul said, citing survivors of the attack.

Though suicide attacks are common in Iraq, bombers rarely dress in religious garb and attacks in mosques remain relatively rare.

No group claimed responsibility, but Sunni militants often launch attacks in a bid to destabilize the government and push Iraq back towards the sectarian violence that blighted it from 2005 to 2008.

The attacker struck at the Sayid al-Shuhada mosque during the funeral of the brother-in-law of Ali Hashem Oghlu, deputy chief of the Iraqi Turkman Front and a provincial councilor in Salaheddin, which surrounds Tuz Khurmatu.

The politician was among the wounded in Wednesday's blast.

Tuz Khurmatu lies in a tract of disputed territory that Kurdistan wants to incorporate into its autonomous three-province region against the wishes of the central government in Baghdad.

The row is regarded by diplomats and officials as the greatest long-term threat to Iraq's stability.