New bloody attack in Iraq

A suicide bomber blew himself up at a gathering of Sufi Muslims north of Baghdad, killing 10 people in the latest attack by Iraqi insurgents on religious sects they disapprove of, officials said on Friday.

The bomber detonated his explosives on Thursday evening in a house near the town of Balad as Sufis gathered for a &to=http:// ' target=_blank>religious ceremony, Interior Ministry officials said.

Sufis follow a form of Islamic mysticism that stresses the need for a personal experience of God. Some conservative Muslims consider them emotional or even heretical.

Sectarian tensions have long been building between Iraq's Shi'ite majority and the Sunni Arab minority that dominated during the rule of &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Saddam Hussein. But until Thursday's blast, Iraq's small Sufi community had been spared major attacks, tells Reuters.

According to the Boston Globe, the new bloodshed came a day after 48 people were killed in a particularly violent day in Iraq including more than 30 in four suicide bombings raising to at least 825 the number of people slain since the new Shiite-led government was announced April 28.

In the past 18 months, 12,000 Iraqi civilians were killed, including more than 10,000 Shiites, Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said, citing figures from a research center. But he said he analyzed the figures on the basis of areas where the victims lived, not data explicitly stating the branch of Islam to which they belong.

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