Four tribal leaders were killed on Friday when a suicide bomber blew himself up among a gathering inside a house in the volatile province of Diyala, a provincial police and the U.S. military said Saturday.
The attack occurred Friday evening in the house of the Sheikh Fayez Elewi Mizri, one of the Obeid tribe's Sheikhs, in the al-Doujama village in the al-Khalis town, some 60 km northeast of Baghdad, the police source said on condition of anonymity.
The blast resulted in the killing of the four tribe's leaders, all of whom were members of the Diyala Awakening Council, which fights al-Qaida group in the province, the source said.
The attack also wounded some of the gathering attendants, including the deputy chief of the province's Awakening Council, the source said.
A brief U.S. military statement put the toll at three killed, including the Sheikh, and another civilian was injured.
Rifts emerged among Sunni tribes, the backbone of insurgency against the U.S. troops, because of the al-Qaida's adherence to a hard-line form of Sunni Islam and indiscriminate killings.
The divergence prompts some Sunni tribesmen in several Sunni-dominated provinces, including Diyala, to form alliances named Awakening councils, which are backed by the U.S. military and the Iraqi government, to fight against al-Qaida.
Diyala in northeast of Baghdad has long been a hotbed of insurgency led-by al-Qaida in Iraq network and sectarian violence between the Sunni and Shiite communities.