18 members of Shiite family killed in surge of Iraq violence

Attacks around Baghdad and north Iraq left 31 people dead on Wednesday, including 18 members of a Shiite family killed by militants, the latest in a nationwide surge of violence.

Baghdad: Attacks around Baghdad and north Iraq left 31 people dead on Wednesday, including 18 members of a Shiite family killed by militants, the latest in a nationwide surge of violence.

The unrest came a day after a wave of bombings targeting Shiites in Baghdad and shootings and bombings elsewhere killed 54 people, further raising fears Iraq is slipping back into the all-out sectarian bloodshed that left tens of thousands dead in 2006 and 2007.

Today`s violence struck towns on the outskirts of Baghdad as well as predominantly Sunni cities in the north of the country, with the deadliest attack occurring south of the capital.

Shortly after midnight, militants bombed adjacent houses belonging to Shiite Muslim brothers in the town of Latifiyah, which lies about 40 kilometres south of Baghdad.

A total of 18 people were killed, including five women and six children, and a dozen others were wounded, according to an Army officer and a doctor at a nearby hospital.

Latifiyah lies within a confessionally-mixed region known as the "Triangle of Death", so named for the brutal violence that plagued the area during the peak of Iraq`s sectarian war in 2006 and 2007.

Last week, another attack on a Shiite family in the town killed at least five people.

No group claimed responsibility for the latest violence, but Sunni militants linked to al Qaeda frequently carry out attacks against Iraq`s Shiite Muslim majority who they regard as apostates.

Separate attacks in Besmaya and Tarmiyah, also on Baghdad`s outskirts, killed seven people, including five soldiers.

Bombings in two Sunni-majority cities north of the capital killed six people, including five policemen who died in a suicide car bombing against a police station in Mosul, one of Iraq`s most restive cities.

The latest bloodshed came as Baghdad was still reeling from a wave of car bombs targeting Shiite neighbourhoods the previous evening that killed 43 people, while unrest elsewhere left 11 others dead.

AFP

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