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Car bombs and roadside bombings kill 21 in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of attacks, including a car bomb outside a cafe, killed at least 21 people in Iraq on Monday, officials said.

Iraqi authorities have struggled to quell a surge in violence — mostly from insurgent attacks and bombings — that engulfed the country following a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in April. Since then, the level of bloodshed has soared to heights unseen since Iraq stood on the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

The deadliest of Monday's attacks took place outside a cafe in the town of Buhriz, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, killing 12 people and wounding 24, police said. Three more bombings around the country killed an additional six people.

A roadside bomb targeted an army patrol just south of the capital, killing one Iraqi soldier and wounded two others, while in Baghdad's eastern Basmaya district a bomb at an outdoor market killed three people and wounded seven, police said.

In a village just north of Baghdad, three policemen were killed and 10 were wounded when a car bomb exploded near their checkpoint. And in the southwestern suburbs of Baghdad, a roadside bomb struck a car carrying anti-al-Qaida Sunni fighters, killing two and wounding three, police and hospital officials said.

The Sunni militia group, known as the Sahwa, joined forces with U.S. troops at the height of the Iraq war to fight al-Qaida. Since then, Sahwa members have been a frequent target for Sunni insurgents, who call the militiamen traitors.

Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figures for all the attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday's attacks, but insurgent groups frequently target civilians in cafes and public areas, as well as members of the security forces, in an attempt to undermine confidence in the Shiite-led government and stir up Iraq's already simmering sectarian tensions.

The attacks came a day after a series of bombings in and around Baghdad killed at least 39 people. At least 150 people have died in attacks across the country so far this month, according to an Associated Press count.

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