Attacks kill 14 in Iraq
A string of attacks killed at least 14 people in Iraq, officials say, in the latest violence of what has been a particularly bloody month in the country.
Iraq has been hit by a wave of bloodshed that has killed some 300 people in the past two weeks alone, raising tensions between the country's Sunni minority and Shiite-led government. The surge in violence has been reminiscent of the sectarian carnage that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.
Sunday's (local time) deadliest attack took place in the northern city of Mosul, where a car bomb went off at a house early in the morning while a joint army-police unit was conducting door-to-door searches. The blast killed three policemen and one soldier, a provincial police officer said. Twenty people, including four civilians, were wounded.
Also in Mosul, police said militants gunned down a policeman in his car in the city centre. Authorities also found a body floating in the Tigris river, shot at close range with hands bound behind the back. Mosul, some 360 kilometres (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, is a former stronghold of Sunni militants.
In northern Baghdad's Kazimiyah district, militants in a speeding car went on a shooting spree that killed three civilians and wounded another, two police officers said. A policeman was killed in another attack in the northern Waziriya neighbourhood when gunmen in two cars fired on his vehicle, wounding a colleague as well.
Also, in the capital's Qahira neighbourhood, militants armed with silenced pistols shot and killed a secondary school teacher, two police officers said. The motive behind the killing was not clear.
In Iraq's western province of Anbar, the birthplace of the Sunni insurgency led by al Qaeda in Iraq, three soldiers were killed and five wounded in two separate attacks by roadside bombs on their patrols, police and army officers said.
Two medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke anonymously as they were not authorised to release information.
Insurgent attacks have decreased sharply in Iraq since the height of insurgency, but recent spikes in attacks amid months-old Sunni protests against the Shiite-led government have raised fears that sectarian killings could gain fresh momentum across the country.
Alarmed by a nationwide deterioration in the security situation, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered a reshuffle in senior military ranks.