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updated: 9/3/2013 7:44 AM

14 killed in shootings and car bombing in Iraq

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Associated Press

BAGHDAD -- Shootings and a car bombing in and south of Baghdad killed 14 people Tuesday, the latest deaths in a surge of sectarian killings and other violence this year, Iraqi officials said.

The deadliest attack came when gunmen stormed the house of a member of a Sunni militia opposed to al-Qaida, killing him and his wife and three children in a southern suburb of the capital, police and hospital officials said.

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The militia, known as the Sahwa, helped U.S. troops fight al-Qaida at the height of the war and since been a target for hard-line insurgents who consider them traitors. Prominent Sahwa leader Wisam al-Hardan managed to escape unharmed an assassination attempt on Monday by two suicide bombers, but six of his bodyguards and a bystander were killed.

Elsewhere in Iraq Tuesday, a car bomb blew up at a restaurant in the town of Jbala just south of the capital, killing two people and wounding seven others.

Gunmen shot two people dead in Baghdad's southern Dora neighborhood and four bodies with gunshot wounds to the back were found in different locations around the Iraqi capital, the officials said. The discovery of the bodies was reminiscent of the sectarian violence that engulfed the country several years ago, when corpses were commonly dumped on the streets.

No one claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attacks in Baghdad, but they bore the hallmark of al-Qaida in Iraq and other Sunni insurgent groups.

Shiite religious leaders and politicians have called for calm in response to the wave of violence, but some attacks on Sunni mosques are raising fears that Shiite armed groups are starting to retaliate.

In the southern city of Basra, gunmen shot and killed Sunni cleric Abdul-Karim Mustafa as he was walking near the al-Taqwa mosque, said police and other officials in the city.

Violence in Iraq has intensified since April to levels not seen since 2008. More than 4,000 people have been killed over the past five months alone, including more than 800 in August, according to figures provided by United Nations officials based in Iraq.

Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figures, and all of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

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