Iraqi officials say a Shiite militia leader, his wife and three children have been killed in a bombing targeting their home south of Baghdad.

Babil province police spokesman Maj. Muthana Khalid says the explosion early Friday morning levelled the house in Haswa, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of the capital. Four people were also wounded in the blast.

A hospital official confirmed the casualties.

A local policeman, Abdul-Salam al-Maamouri, identified the dead man as a Mahdi Army leader.

The Mahdi militia forces are loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. They often terrorized Sunni neighbourhoods during the height of Iraq’s sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007, and the militia’s fighters have been targets of retribution.

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