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Iraq insurgents kill 12 in attacks

BAGHDAD — A 9-year-old schoolboy was among at least 12 people insurgents killed across Iraq Wednesday, rattling nerves ahead of a holiday weekend.

Violence has declined since the height of Iraq’s insurgency, but the attacks once again showed that Sunni extremists seeking to undermine the Shi’ite-led government remain a lethal challenge to Iraq’s security.

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The child, Ahmed al-Obeidi, was killed when a parked motorcycle packed with explosives went off near a local politician’s passing convoy in the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk, according to police and a provincial council official.

The boy and his brother were on their way to buy clothes for the holiday of Eid al-Adha, which begins later this week.

Four other people were wounded in the attack. Politician Ali al-Hashemi, an ethnic Turkomen and the apparent target of the blast, escaped unharmed.

Kirkuk, about 180 miles north of Baghdad, is home to a mix of Arabs, Kurds, and Turkomen, all competing to control the city.

Authorities typically tighten security ahead of holidays, seeking to thwart attackers who take advantage of times when employees are off work and families gather in public places such as parks and restaurants.

A wave of attacks shortly before another Muslim holiday in August, Eid al-Fitr, killed more than 90 people in one of the deadliest days in Iraq this year.

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