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Attacks kill 51 people in Iraq

BAGHDAD — A blistering string of apparently coordinated bombings and a shooting across Iraq killed at least 51 people and wounded dozens Sunday, spreading fear throughout the country in a wave of violence that is raising the prospect of a return to widespread sectarian killing a decade after a US-led invasion.

Violence has spiked sharply in Iraq in recent months, with the death toll rising to levels not seen since 2008.

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Nearly 2,000 people have been killed since the start of April, including more than 180 this month.

One of the deadliest attacks Sunday came in the evening when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a cafe packed with young people in the largely Shi’ite neighborhood of al-Ameen in southeastern Baghdad. The attack killed 11 people and wounded 25, according to police.

Most of Sunday’s car bombs hit Shi’ite-majority areas and caused most of the casualties. The blasts hit a half-dozen cities and towns in the south and center of the country.

There was no claim of responsibility for any of the attacks, but they bore the hallmark of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which uses car bombs, suicide bombers and coordinated attacks, most aimed at security forces and members of Iraq’s Shi’ite majority.

The US Embassy condemned the attacks, saying it stands with Iraqis ‘‘who seek to live in peace and who reject cowardly acts of terrorism such as this.’’

The United States withdrew its last combat troops from Iraq in December 2011, though a small number remain as an arm of the embassy to provide training and facilitate arms sales.

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