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Seven killed in Iraq violence

Smoke rises from an Iraqi army vehicle following an attack by armed militants in the Anbar city of Fallujah, on January 26, 2014

Shelling in Iraq‘s city of Fallujah, held by anti-government fighters for more than two months, and a shooting targeting a local official killed seven people Friday, police and doctors said.

Iraq has been hit by a year-long surge in bloodshed that has reached levels not seen since 2008, driven principally by widespread discontent among its Sunni Arab minority and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Shelling in Fallujah, just a short drive from Baghdad, killed six people and wounded 17, Dr Ahmed Shami told AFP.

The source of the fire, which resident Jassem Mohammed al-Essawi said hit four different areas, was not immediately clear.

A crisis erupted in the desert province of Anbar in late December when security forces dismantled Iraq’s main Sunni Arab anti-government protest camp just outside provincial capital Ramadi.

Anti-government fighters subsequently seized all of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, to its west.

It is the first time anti-government forces have exercised such open control in major cities since the peak of the deadly violence that followed the US-led invasion of 2003.

More than 370,000 people may have been displaced by the latest violence in Anbar, according to the United Nations.

In Saadiyah, a town northeast of Baghdad, gunmen shot dead municipal council member Hussein al-Tamimi on Friday and wounded another person, a police lieutenant colonel and a doctor said.

Friday’s deaths came a day after more than a dozen bombings and two shootings killed at least 23 people and wounded dozens.

Violence in Iraq has killed more than 1,800 people since January 1, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

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