Four killed as Iraqis mark end of Ramadan

Attacks killed four people in Iraq on Friday, officials said, as Muslims marked the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan which has been one the bloodiest in years.

More than 800 people were killed in attacks during Ramadan, which began in the second week of July and ended this week.

Militants have struck targets ranging from cafes where Iraqis gather after breaking their daily Ramadan fast, to mosques where extended evening prayers are held during the month.

On Friday, gunmen killed two anti-Al-Qaeda fighters and wounded two others near Baiji, north of Baghdad.

The Sahwa, who joined forces with the US from late 2006 and helped turn the tide of the war against the insurgency, are frequently targeted by Sunni militants, who consider them traitors.

Gunmen also killed a farmer near Baquba, north of Baghdad, while a magnetic "sticky bomb" killed a man and wounded his wife in the capital.

And in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, a suicide bomber attempted to attack a police checkpoint but was shot by security forces.

The explosives the bomber was carrying still detonated, wounding two policemen and a civilian.

Violence has markedly increased this year, especially since an April 23 security operation at a Sunni Arab anti-government protest site that sparked clashes in which dozens died.

Protests erupted in Sunni-majority areas in late 2012, amid widespread discontent among Sunnis, who accuse the Shiite-led government of marginalising and targeting them.

Analysts say Sunni anger is the main cause of the spike in violence this year.

In addition to security problems, the government in Baghdad is also failing to provide adequate basic services such as electricity and clean water, and corruption is widespread.

Political squabbling has paralysed the government, which has passed almost no major legislation in years.