Iraq suicide bomber kills 5 ahead of provincial vote

MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) - A suicide bomb attack in north Iraq on Wednesday killed the leader of a local political party and four relatives, officials said, on the eve of provincial elections his bloc was to participate in.

Yunus al-Ramah, head of the United Iraq party, had been hosting a social gathering in his home in the town of Al-Hadhr, in Nineveh province, when the attack took place early Wednesday, according to security and medical officials.

"The suicide bomber targeted people gathering in Ramah's garden," said police First Lieutenant Islam al-Juburi.

Five people were killed - Ramah and four of his relatives - and six others wounded, Juburi and a doctor said.

Ramah's United Iraq party is seen as allied to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The attack comes ahead of Thursday's elections in Nineveh and Anbar, two Sunni-majority provinces where polls were delayed by officials who cited security concerns.

Twelve other provinces held elections on April 20.