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imageBAGHDAD: Bombings hit two markets in Baghdad province on Thursday, killing at least 20 people, while gunmen shot dead five members of one family south of the capital, officials said.

Iraq is experiencing its worst violence since 2008, when it was emerging from a brutal sectarian conflict, and more than 250 people have been killed in just seven days.

Four bombs in a market north of the capital killed at least 13 people, while another hit a market in a predominantly Sunni neighbourhood in south Baghdad, killing seven.

The attacks also wounded more than 50 people, the officials said.

Militants in Iraq often bomb areas where crowds of people gather, and have struck markets, football pitches, cafes, mosques, weddings and funerals.

Also on Thursday, gunmen shot dead a man said to have been a former Sahwa anti-Al-Qaeda fighter, his three sons and one of their cousins south of Baghdad.

The Sahwa, who helped US forces from late 2006 to bring about a sharp reduction in violence, are frequently targeted by Sunni militants, who consider them traitors.

A magnetic "sticky bomb" on a car also killed a policeman and wounded two civilians in the northern city of Mosul.

A similar device killed an employee of a local television station and wounded a second in Baquba, also north of Baghdad.

And in the northern city of Kirkuk, a bomb killed a man and wounded his brother, while two alleged Al-Qaeda militants were shot dead by gunmen west of the city.

The identity of the shooters was not immediately clear, but militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda and those from rival group Ansar al-Sunna have traded attacks in recent weeks.

Thursday's violence came a day after attacks in northern Iraq, including assaults by militants on local government and police buildings, killed 33 people.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013

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