Series of attacks in Iraq kill nine people

More than 3,200 people have already been killed this year

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A series of attacks around Baghdad and in northern Iraq killed nine people Monday as officials tallied votes from elections held last month during a protracted surge in unrest.

More than 3,200 people have already been killed this year, fuelling fears Iraq is on the brink of slipping back into the all-out sectarian conflict that left tens of thousands dead in 2006 and 2007.

Monday’s deadliest violence struck near Beiji, north of the capital, as four people were killed by a suicide car bomb targeting a military checkpoint, officials said.

Attacks also struck in northern Nineveh province, as well as in the towns of Madain and Mahmudiyah, near Baghdad.

The bloodshed comes during vote counting from the April 30 general election, the first since American troops withdrew in late 2011.

While officials are quick to blame external factors for the spike in violence, analysts and diplomats say widespread anger among the Sunni Arab minority in the mainly Shiite country is also a key cause.

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