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Attacks kill 12 people in Iraq

BAGHDAD — An attack at a security checkpoint and a suicide car bomb in Iraq killed 12 people and destroyed a bridge today, said officials.

Police officials said the deadlier attack took place when attackers sprayed with bullets a group of troops manning a checkpoint early today, near the city of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad. Police said seven soldiers were killed in the attack.

Hours later, a suicide bomber set off his explosive-laden car on the main al-Houz bridge near Ramadi city, killing five people and wounding seven others. Police said parts of the bridge fell into the Euphrates river.

Ramadi is 70 miles west of Baghdad.

Fierce clashes pitting government security forces and allied Sunni tribal militias against a coalition of insurgents have been raging in Anbar province since late December.

Medics confirmed the casualties for both attacks. All officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The Iraq security forces have been a favorite target for Sunni insurgents who want to undermine the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Violence has escalated in Iraq over the past year, with 2013 seeing the country’s highest death toll since the worst of the country’s sectarian bloodletting began to subside in 2007, according to the United Nations figures.

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