A suicide bomber struck a funeral attended by members of an ethnic minority in northern Iraq on Saturday, Iraqi officials said, killing at least 15 in the latest episode of deadly violence to shake the country.

The bomber set off his explosive belt inside a tent during the afternoon ceremony held by members of the Shabak minority near the city of Mosul, 360 km northwest of Baghdad.

Authorities said that the blast, in the village of Arto Kharab, also wounded 13 others.

The Shabaks are ethnic Turkomen and Shia Muslims. Most of them live in villages east of Mosul, the provincial capital of the ethnically mixed Ninevah province that is predominantly Sunni Muslim.

Mosul has been a hub for al-Qaeda in Iraq in past years, and militants have used violence and intimidation to drive hundreds of members of minority groups out of the city.

In other violence, police officials said a roadside bomb hit a car in Dujail town, just north of the capital, killing the driver and his wife.

Also, police said an 11-year-old boy was killed when a bomb hit a minibus travelling on a road near Suleiman Beg town, about 150 km northeast of Baghdad.

Police said that gunmen also stormed a tile factory in eastern Baghdad, killing the factory owner and a worker.

Officials in nearby hospitals confirmed the death toll. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to journalists.

Iraq is weathering its deadliest bout of violence in half a decade, raising fears the country is returning to a period of widespread killing such as that which pushed it to the brink of civil war following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

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