An Iraqi girl stands near debris in the aftermath of an explosion in the Ur district in eastern Baghdad, on February 18, 2014
An Iraqi girl stands near debris in the aftermath of an explosion in the Ur district in eastern Baghdad, on February 18, 2014 © Ahmad al-Rubaye - AFP/File
An Iraqi girl stands near debris in the aftermath of an explosion in the Ur district in eastern Baghdad, on February 18, 2014
AFP
Last updated: February 24, 2014

Iraq violence kills 17

Attacks in Iraq, including a series of shootings in the north, killed at least 17 people Sunday, officials said, as the country struggles to curb a year-long surge in violence.

The deadliest single attack was a bomb that exploded on a highway between Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul, killing three police and four detainees who had been captured during a raid.

Six shootings in Mosul itself -- one of the most dangerous parts of the country -- killed seven people, including the brother of a provincial councillor, a health directorate employee and three security forces members.

In north Baghdad, a roadside bomb exploded near bicycle shops in the Sadr City area, killing at least two people and wounding at least seven, while another bombing in the Hurriyah area wounded at least three more people.

And a bomb exploded in a house in the Siniyah area north of Baghdad, killing a policeman and wounding two others.

Iraq has been hit by a year-long surge in violence, driven by widespread discontent among members of the Sunni Arab minority and the bloody civil war in neighbouring Syria, that security forces have failed to curb.

All of the city of Fallujah -- just a short drive from Baghdad -- and part of Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, to its west, have been held by anti-government fighters since early January.

More than 610 people have been killed in attacks and clashes since the beginning of the month, and over 1,600 since January 1, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

And violence has killed 10 or more people on all but three days so far this month.

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