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Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 8 in latest in string of attacks since US withdrawal
BAGHDAD (AP) ' A car bomb blew up outside the northern city of Mosul on Monday, killing at least eight people, Iraq officials said, in the latest in a series of attacks to target the country's Shiite majority since the U.S. withdrawal last month.
Violence has surged across Iraq since the last American troops left the country, with a string of bombings that have left more than 140 people dead. Most of the attacks appear to be aimed at Iraq's Shiite majority, suggesting Sunni insurgents are seeking to undermine the Shiite-dominated government.
Monday's blast struck a Shiite district outside of Mosul, a predominantly Sunni city some 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, a police official said.
An official at Mosul's Al-Jomhouri hospital confirmed the death toll, and said at least six people were wounded in the attack.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
A member of the city's local council, Qusai Abbas, said the car that blew up was parked outside a group of houses where Shiites have settled since being driven out of Mosul by Sunni militants during fierce sectarian fighting a few years ago.
With violence appearing to be on the rise, Iraq also finds itself facing a political crisis after the Shiite-dominated government charged Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi with running death squads, issuing an arrest warrant against him just as the last U.S. soldiers crossed into neighboring Kuwait.
The sectarian crisis in the government and the spike in attacks ' such as a bombing Saturday that killed more than 50 Shiite pilgrims and an assault Sunday on government buildings in western Anbar province that killed seven ' has raised concerns Iraq could return to the sort of sectarian bloodshed that killed tens of thousands of civilians after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and brought the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.
Associated Press writer Barbara Surk contributed to this report.