Iraq attacks kill eight on invasion anniversary

The violence, Iraq’s worst since 2008, has been primarily driven by discontent in the minority Sunni Arab community

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Attacks killed eight people across Iraq Thursday, a day after bombings, shootings and shelling left 46 people dead, part of a surge in bloodshed with elections due within weeks.

The violence, Iraq’s worst since 2008, has been primarily driven by discontent in the minority Sunni Arab community, which alleges mistreatment at the hands of the Shiite-led government and security forces, and by the civil war raging in neighboring Syria.

Thursday’s attacks came on the 11th anniversary of the beginning of the US-led invasion that ousted now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein, illustrating the high level of violence that has plagued Iraq for much of the aftermath of his downfall.

The violence struck on the outskirts of Baghdad, north of the capital in Salaheddin and Kirkuk provinces, and in the western city of Ramadi, killed eight people. Security forces also found the body of a policeman, security and medical officials said.

In Ramadi, a city that government forces wrested from partial militant control earlier this year, a roadside bomb killed four policemen who were on patrol.

Security forces regained control of Ramadi after anti-government fighters overran parts of the Anbar provincial capital, as well as all of the nearby city of Fallujah, in January.

While Ramadi may be back in government hands, a stalemate persists in Fallujah.

Elsewhere, attacks in Hawijah, Sharqat, Madain and Abu Ghraib left four people dead, while the corpse of a police intelligence officer who had been kidnapped two days earlier was found in Siniyah.

The latest unrest comes after a series of nationwide attacks killed 46 people on Wednesday, including coordinated bombings targeting a cafe in western Baghdad which killed 13 people, and shelling and clashes in Fallujah that left 15 dead.

More than 300 people have been killed so far this month and upwards of 2,000 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on reports from security and medical sources.

Analysts and diplomats have called for the Shiite-led authorities to do more to reach out to the disaffected Sunni minority, but with elections looming on April 30, political leaders have been loath to be seen to compromise.

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