Middle East

Toll rises in Baghdad as 19 bodies found

Another 16 people have been killed in suicide bombings and other attacks in sectarian violence in Baghdad, with authorities finding 19 bodies.

Iraqi authorities have found the bodies of 19 people - including a family of five - shot dead in Baghdad, in scenes eerily reminiscent of the country's gruesome 2006-07 sectarian massacres.

Another 16 people were killed in suicide bombings and other attacks early on Wednesday, pushing the number of those slain so far this year above 6000, as the country endures its worst spate of violence since 2008 just months ahead of general elections.

Although there have been no claims of responsibility for much of the unrest, authorities have voiced concern over a resurgent al-Qaeda emboldened by the civil war raging in neighbouring Syria.

Most of the violence struck Baghdad and Sunni Arab areas of northern and western Iraq, which have suffered the worst of the months-long spike in attacks.

In two separate areas of the capital, police found the bodies of 14 men, all in their 20s or 30s, and all shot dead, according to medical officials.

Eight of the corpses were found with blindfolds on in the mostly Sunni Dura neighbourhood, while six others had been dumped in a canal in mostly Shi'ite Shuala.

At the peak of Iraq's sectarian fighting, Sunni and Shi'ite militiamen would regularly carry out tit-for-tat kidnappings and leave scores of corpses littering the streets, many of them bound, blindfolded and showing signs of torture.

Violence in the capital, meanwhile, left nine people dead, including a family of five - three men and two women - who were shot dead in their home in the Hurriyah neighbourhood in a pre-dawn attack, according to security and medical officials.

Shootings and bombings were also carried out in the western province of Anbar, and near the main northern city of Mosul, both of which are mostly Sunni Arab.

Two separate attacks involving multiple suicide bombers against police near Ramadi, west of Baghdad, killed at least five policemen and left 11 others wounded.

One of the attacks involved a car bomb set off by a suicide attacker on the western outskirts of the city, followed by a firefight between militants and police in which four suicide bombers blew themselves up.

A separate suicide bombing at a police station just north of the city killed two more policemen and left four wounded.

A shooting near Mosul, meanwhile, left two school teachers dead.

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