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Car bombings, shooting in Iraq kill at least 17

BAGHDAD — Car bombs struck Shiite neighborhoods of the Iraqi capital and a northern city Thursday, killing 16 people, while gunmen in Baghdad shot dead the brother of a Sunni lawmaker, officials said.

The attacks followed a wave of bombings Wednesday that also mainly struck Shiite neighborhoods, killing 33 people and raising concerns over a return to the sectarian bloodshed in Iraq.

Baghdad police said the first of Thursday's bombings hit a bus and taxi stop during the morning rush hour in the city's eastern Sadr City neighborhood. Nine people were killed, including a 7-year-old child, and 16 were wounded in that attack, two officers said.

Another car bomb hit a small market at a taxi stop in Baghdad's eastern suburb of Kamaliya, killing three civilians and wounding 14 others there, the officers said.

And in the capital's northern Chikouk district, two civilians were killed and 10 were wounded when a car bomb missed a police patrol that was passing through, two other police officers said.

In the northern city of Mosul, a suicide attacker rammed his car into an army check point, killing two soldiers and wounding three others, another police officer said. The attack came just after a car bombing in another area of Mosul wounded two civilians, he said.

In Baghdad's southwestern neighborhood of Bayaa, drive-by gunmen shot and killed a brother of a Sunni lawmaker and wounded two of his guards, two police officials said.

Four medical officials in a nearby hospital confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The spike in violence comes amid growing tensions between the Shiite-led government and Iraq's Sunni minority over what they consider second-class treatment. A bloody government crackdown on militants last month in a protest camp in the country's north fueled the latest tensions.

No one has claimed responsibility for Wednesday's and Thursday's attacks, but car and suicide bombings are a hallmark of Al Qaeda's Iraq branch.

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