Residents of Mussayab town, south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad looked at the damage caused by a suicide bomb attack at a mosque late on Sunday (September 29).

"People kept evacuating bodies and causalities until 2 am, we saw heads and hands of dead people scattered on the ground," said a local resident as he watched heaps of rubble being removed from the blast site on Monday (September 30) morning.

At least 40 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shi-ite Muslim funeral.

The blast brought down the ceiling of the mosque in Mussayab, 60km (40 miles) south of the capital Baghdad. Police said some bodies were still trapped beneath the debris. At least 50 people were wounded.

Those inside had been mourning the death of a man killed a day earlier by militants.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the bombing, which is the latest in a spate of attacks targeting both Sunni and Shi'ite places of worship, particularly during funerals.

Iraq's delicate sectarian balance has come under growing strain from the civil war in neighbouring Syria, where mainly Sunni Muslim rebels are fighting to overthrow a leader backed by Shi'ite Iran.

Both Sunnis and Shi'ites have crossed into Syria from Iraq to fight on opposite sides of the conflict.

Al Qaeda's Iraqi and Syrian branches merged earlier this year to form the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has claimed responsibility for attacks on both sides of the border.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in acts of violence since the start of the year, according to monitoring group Iraq Body Count.

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