A female suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives killed 16 people on Friday in an attack northeast of Baghdad on former Sunni Arab insurgents who have joined with security forces to fight al Qaeda, police said.
The powerful explosion shook the town of Muqdadiyah, 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, near the provincial capital Baquba at around 10 am (0700 GMT), they said.
"The explosion was caused when a female suicide bomber detonated herself in the office of the local Awakening group," said Baquba police official Lieutenant Colonen Najim al-Soumaidaie, referring to a group of local Sunni Arabs who have taken up arms against Al-Qaeda in central Diyala province.
Dr Hussein Abdullah of the Baquba hospital said 16 bodies and 27 wounded people had been brought to the facility, among them were women and children.
"Of those killed 10 were from this (Awakening) group and five others were civilians," a security official in Baghdad said.
The wounded included 15 from the Awakening group, he added.
Al-Sahwa or Awakening groups have sprung up across Iraq, comprising mainly Sunni tribal leaders who have accepted money from the U.S. military in return for confronting Al-Qaeda militants who attack civilians.