Iraq attacks kills nine as bomber hits university

AFP , Sunday 20 Apr 2014

Attacks in Iraq, including a suicide bombing at a university in north Baghdad, killed at least nine people on Sunday, security and medical officials said.

The attacks, which come as Iraq suffers a prolonged surge in bloodshed, took place less than two weeks before a parliamentary election that will be a major test for security forces.

Officials gave varying accounts of the bombing of Baghdad's Imam Kadhim University.

A police colonel said a suicide attacker entered the university before detonating their explosives, while another bomber and a gunman were killed by security forces.

An interior ministry official meanwhile said the bombing took place at the entrance to the university, while a second bomber was shot dead.

The attack killed at least three people and wounded at least nine, officials said.

Iraq is hit by daily bombings and shootings that kill hundreds of people each month, but attacks targeting universities are relatively rare.

In Babil province, south of Baghdad, a car bomb killed three people and wounded four, while two more car bombs killed three people and wounded 26 in Al-Rumaitha in Muthanna province, further south.

Iraqis vote on April 30 in the first parliamentary election since American troops left the country in late 2011.

While they were able to keep violence to a minimum during provincial polls last year, the security forces have failed to halt a subsequent year-long surge in unrest.

The heightened violence has been driven principally by widespread anger among the Sunni Arab minority, who say they are mistreated by the Shiite-led government and security forces.

It has also been fuelled by the bloody civil war in neighbouring Syria, which has bolstered militant groups.

Violence has killed more than 460 people in Iraq this month and upwards of 2,700 this year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

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