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Attacks kill 16 people in Iraq

BAGHDAD – A series of attacks in Iraq, including a shooting at a security checkpoint and a suicide car bomb, killed 16 people and destroyed a bridge on Sunday, said officials.

Police officials said the deadliest attack took place when attackers sprayed with bullets a group of troops manning a checkpoint early Sunday, near the city of Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad. Police said seven soldiers were killed in the attack.

Hours later, a suicide bomber set off his explosive-laden car on the main al-Houz bridge near Ramadi city, killing five people and wounding seven. Police said parts of the bridge fell into the Euphrates river.

Ramadi is 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad.

Fierce clashes pitting government security forces and allied Sunni tribal militias against a coalition of insurgents have been raging in Anbar province since late December.

Also, a bomb explosion at the entrance of an out-door market killed four shoppers and wounded nine others in Baghdad’s southern suburb of Youssifiyah, according to the police.

Medics confirmed the casualties for both attacks. All officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The Iraq security forces have been a favorite target for Sunni insurgents who want to undermine the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Violence has escalated in Iraq over the past year, with 2013 seeing the country’s highest death toll since the worst of the country’s sectarian bloodletting began to subside in 2007, according to the United Nations figures.

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