World Bulletin/News Desk
Most of the victims of Sunday's attack were members of the Kurdish security forces who were guarding the office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party in the town of Jalawla, 115 km (70 miles) northeast of Baghdad.
"A suicide bomber parked a car packed with explosives near the PUK headquarters and after it went off, he managed to sneak into the building and detonate his vest," said Khorsheed Ahmed, chairman of Jalawla city council.
Jalawla lies in disputed territory, and is one of several towns where Iraqi troops and Kurdish peshmerga regional guards have previously faced off against each other, asserting their competing claims over the area.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack in a statement posted on its "Diyala Emirate" Twitter account, and said it was in revenge for the arrest of women in Kurdistan.
ISIL gave a slightly different version of the attack, which it said had been carried out by two suicide bombers, the first of whom drove a car packed with explosives into the PUK's compound and blew himself and the vehicle up.
The second, whose name indicated he was a Kurd, then entered a crowd of people that had gathered to help those wounded in the first blast and detonated his explosives belt amongst them.
Nearly 800 people were killed across the country in May alone - the highest monthly toll this year so far - and last year was Iraq's deadliest since violence began to ease from a peak in 2006-07.
Baghdad-based political analyst Ahmed Younis said ISIL was benefiting from the group's consolidation across the border in Syria, which allowed it to focus on Iraq and drain the army's resolve and resources.
"Hit and run attacks conducted by ISIL in Iraq, especially in the mainly Sunni provinces, keep the army engaged on multiple fronts and definitely draw the government forces into a protracted battle," Younis said.
Police and security sources said Iraqi special forces were still fighting on Sunday to regain control over several districts on the left bank of the river that cuts through the northern city of Mosul, which militants moved into on Friday.
Two members of the Iraqi elite forces were killed in clashes there on Sunday, the sources said.
In the western province of Anbar, militants withdrew from a university they occupied on Saturday and took up positions in the surrounding area, shooting at the army as they tried to enter the campus, according to police, security officials and witnesses.
An Iraqi Kurdish politician on Sunday called for the deployment of peshmerga fighters in the volatile eastern province of Diyala against the background of rising tensions in the province.
"The repeated targeting of the party offices is part of a barbaric campaign by evil-minded people," Ibrahim Pajlan told Anadolu Agency.
He said the headquarters of the party are subject to repeated attacks on the background of what he called the party's "patriotic" positions.
Pajlan said thousands of Kurdish families have been displaced by "terrorist" and "chauvinistic" groups.
He called on the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish regional government to urgently agree on involving peshmerga in protecting Kurdish headquarters against attacks.
Peshmerga withdrew from northern Diyala, which are inhabited by Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, in late 2008. The Kurdish fighters were first deployed in these areas in 2003.
The central government in Baghdad and Sunni parties in Diyala oppose any deployment of peshmerga in the province.Last Mod: 08 Haziran 2014, 17:57