Attacks kill at least 15 in Iraq, officials say

Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of attacks killed at least 15 people in Iraq as part of a recent spike in insurgent violence aimed at destabilizing the country and undermining the government, officials said Monday.

The deadliest strike was in the town of Madain, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Baghdad, where a bomb exploded near a youth center killing six civilians and wounding three, police said.

In the northern city of Mosul, a car bomb exploded in a commercial area, killing one civilian and wounding 5 others, a police officer said. Also in Mosul, two militant groups shot and killed a police officer and a civilian in two separate attacks.

Mosul, some 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, has been the scene of some of the deadliest unrest outside the capital in recent weeks.

Late Sunday, gunmen stopped a family of a policeman while they were driving home from a wedding party in a remote area near the town of Musayyib, killing the policeman, his parents, wife and two young children, mayor Abdul-Karim Abdul-Jabar said Monday. A police officer confirmed the attack.

Abdul-Jabar added that another 8-year child was wounded. Members of security forces and government officials and their families are the main targets for insurgent groups seeking to undermine government efforts to maintain security. Musayyib is located about 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of Baghdad.

Three health officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

The attacks are part of a spike in violence in recent months that is raising worries Iraq is heading back toward widespread sectarian bloodletting that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

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