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Attacks kill at least 53 in Iraq

BAGHDAD — Insurgents unleashed a new wave of attacks on Tuesday in Iraq, killing at least 53 people, officials said, the latest in a surge in violence across the country that has raised concerns over a return to sectarian bloodshed. Seven militants were also killed.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attacks, mostly car bombs in Shi’ite areas.

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Al Qaeda’s Iraq branch, which has been gaining strength in recent months,
frequently targets Shi’ites, security forces, and civil servants in an effort to undermine the Shi’ite-led government in Baghdad.

Iraq is weathering its deadliest outburst of violence since 2008, with more than 2,000 people killed since the start of April.

The bloodshed appears to be largely the work of resurgent Sunni militants such as Al Qaeda, feeding off Sunni discontent with the Shi’ite-led government.

Violence increased sharply in April and May, with frequent bombings in civilian areas raising concerns that a widespread sectarian conflict might once again break out in Iraq.

The bloodshed accelerated after a deadly April 23 crackdown by Iraqi security forces on a Sunni protest in the northern town of Hawija against the Shi’ite-led government.

The deadliest attack was in Baghdad’s northern Shaab neighborhood.

Two parked car bombs targeted car dealers and a commercial area, killing nine people, including a policeman, a police officer said. He said that 24 other people were wounded.

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