Bombings kill 7 people in Iraq

Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — Bomb attacks in Iraq have killed seven people, including a local political leader and four of his relatives, authorities said Wednesday.

Violence has risen sharply in Iraq in recent months as sectarian tensions increase, reviving fears the country is headed back toward the widespread sectarian bloodshed that pushed it to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

The deadliest attack came when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside politician Younis al-Rammah's guest house in the northern province of Ninevah, a provincial police officer said Wednesday. Al-Rammah and four relatives were killed, and six others were wounded.

The slain leader headed a political list competing in provincial elections this Thursday. Iraq's April provincial elections were delayed in the Sunni-dominated provinces of Ninevah province and Anbar because of what Iraqi officials said were security concerns.

Candidates are frequent targets for insurgents who aim to disrupt the political process.

Shortly after sunset Wednesday, police said a bomb placed near a juice cart exploded in the Shiite neighborhood of Shula in Baghdad, killing two people and wounding eight others.

Insurgent attacks against Shiites are frequent. Sunni extremists such as al-Qaida consider Shiites as heretics.

Medical officials confirmed the deaths. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information to reporters.

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