Wave of new violence hits mostly Shiite cities in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of explosions and shootings has rocked mostly Shiite cities in Iraq, killing at least 38 people as Muslims broke the Ramadan fast Sunday. It was the latest in a surge of violence that has kindled fears that the country is sliding back toward full-scale sectarian fighting.

Insurgents have been pounding Iraq with bombings and other attacks for months in the country’s worst eruption of violence in half a decade. The pace of the killings has picked up since the Muslim holy month Ramadan began Wednesday. There have been mass-casualty attacks almost daily in a month meant to be focused on peaceful reflection and charity.

More than 2,800 people have been killed since the start of April in the deadliest violence in Iraq since 2008. The spike in bloodshed is growing increasingly reminiscent of the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007, when the country teetered on the brink of civil war.

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APPHOTO GFX9335: Map locates multiple cities in Iraq that were the site of bombings; 1c x 2 inches; 46.5 mm x 50 mm; (14 Jul 2013)

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APPHOTO BAG109: EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT – People evacuate a casualty from the scene of a car bombing in Basra, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 14, 2013. A wave of explosions tore through overwhelmingly Shiite cities south of Baghdad shortly before the Muslim faithful broke their Ramadan fasts, killing tens of people and wounding dozens, according to officials. The bombings are part of a sudden surge of violence that has brought Iraq to the brink of all-out sectarian conflict. (AP Photo/ Nabil al-Jurani) (14 Jul 2013)

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APPHOTO BAG106: Security forces inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in Basra, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 14, 2013. A wave of explosions tore through overwhelmingly Shiite cities south of Baghdad shortly before the Muslim faithful broke their Ramadan fasts, killing at least 22 and wounding dozens, according to officials, part of a sudden surge of violence that has brought Iraq to the brink of all-out sectarian conflict. (AP Photo/ Nabil al-Jurani) (14 Jul 2013)

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