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Iraq attacks kill nine, including parliament candidate

AFP , Saturday 8 Mar 2014
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Attacks in Iraq killed nine people on Saturday, including a parliamentary candidate and four children, officers and medical sources said, as the country suffers its worst violence in years.

Iraq has been hit by a year-long surge in bloodshed that has reached levels not seen since 2008, driven principally by widespread discontent among its Sunni Arab minority and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

In Sharqat, north of Baghdad, gunmen shot dead Mohammed Hussein Hamid, who was running in parliamentary elections scheduled for next month on Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak's list.

Hamid was the second parliamentary candidate to be killed this year, after gunmen shot dead Hamza al-Shammari last month.

Election candidates have been targeted in the past, with nearly 20 hopefuls killed ahead of April 2013 provincial council elections.

In Samarra, also north of Baghdad, a shooting at checkpoint killed two secondary school students and a policeman, while a roadside bomb in a village south of Sharqat killed two children.

In Khales, a roadside bomb killed army Lieutenant Colonel Abbas al-Rubaie and another soldier.

Iraqi soldiers and police are frequently targeted in bombings and shootings carried out by militants opposed to the government.

And a shooting killed one person in the northern city of Mosul, one of the most dangerous parts of the country.

With the latest violence, more than 100 people have been killed so far this month, and over 1,800 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

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