12 killed in series of militant attacks in Iraq

(AP) BAGHDAD - Bombings and drive-by shootings killed 12 people across Iraq on Thursday, officials said, in the latest series of small but recurrent strikes by militants bent on bringing the country back to the brink of civil war.

Authorities said five security forces were among the dead.

In Baghdad's northeastern and mostly Shiite neighborhood of Husseiniyah, two roadside bombs exploded simultaneously at an open-air market just minutes before shoppers broke the daylong fast they observe during the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Seven people were killed in the blasts, including two women, and another 24 were wounded. Hospital officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

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Farther north, insurgents opened fire on a security checkpoint in the small city of Tuz Khormato, about 130 miles north of Baghdad. Four soldiers were killed in the nighttime drive-by shooting, and the gunmen escaped, said Police Brig. Gen. Sarhat Qadir.

Additionally, Qadir said, one soldier was killed and four more wounded in a shoot-out with a carload of insurgents in the city of Kirkuk, Qadir said. He said three of the insurgents were killed in the gunfight. Qadir oversees police operations in and around Kurkuk, a region that includes Tuz Khormato.

Security forces and Shiites are frequent targets for Sunni militants seeking to reignite widespread sectarian violence in Iraq. Violence is down from the days when the country seemed close to civil war in 2006-2008, but deadly attacks still happen every day. A horrifying wave of violence last week left at least 115 people killed in Iraq's bloodiest day in more than two years.