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19 dead in two days of Iraq violence

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Two days of violence in Iraq killed 19 people, including six family members shot dead while returning from a wedding, police officers and doctors said on Monday.

In Madain, south of Baghdad, a bomb exploded near a football field inside a sports club on Monday, killing at least five people.

And gunmen attacked a checkpoint on a highway in northern Iraq, sparking clashes that killed three anti-Al-Qaeda fighters and two militants.

The anti-Al-Qaeda fighters, known as Sahwa, are a collection of Sunni tribal militias that turned against Al-Qaeda and sided with the US military from late 2006 onwards, helping turn the tide against Iraq's bloody insurgency.

The militiamen are regarded as traitors by Sunni militants and are frequently targeted in attacks.

A car bomb in the northern city of Mosul also killed one person and wounded four.

On Sunday night, gunmen killed a policeman, his father, his wife and three children as they drove south of Baghdad on their way back from a wedding.

And gunmen shot dead two police in an attack on a checkpoint in Tikrit, north of the capital.

With the latest violence, over 180 people have been killed in unrest in the first eight days of July -- far more than in the whole month of December, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

Iraq has seen a surge in violence since the beginning of the year, coinciding with ongoing protests in the Sunni Arab community that analysts and diplomats say have boosted recruitment to Sunni militant groups and given them room to manoeuvre.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130708/19-dead-two-days-iraq-violence