BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber attacked a government-backed militia in Iraq on Monday, killing at least 22 people in an apparent attempt by Sunni insurgents to provoke unrest against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Dressed in civilian clothes, the bomber infiltrated a meeting of Sahwa tribal fighters and detonated his explosives as they picked up salaries in Taji, a town 20 km (12 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, police said.

It was the seventh suicide bombing in a month in Iraq, indicating insurgents are intent on stepping up violence a year after US troops pulled out of the country, where Shi'ite, Sunni and ethnic Kurdish factions still struggle over how to share power.

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