Violence North of Baghdad Kills Nine

Violence north of Baghdad on Saturday killed nine people, including five members of a Sunni Arab family slain early in the morning, Iraqi security and medical officials said.

The attacks come with just months to go before all U.S. soldiers must withdraw from the country, with American officials pressing their counterparts in Baghdad to decide whether or not they want an extended U.S. military presence.

In Saturday's deadliest attack, a primary school teacher and his family were gunned down inside their home in the village al-Jalam, near the town of al-Dour in Salaheddin province.

"Two gunmen stormed the house of Yunis Hassan Salman after midnight and they killed him, his wife, their two sons and their daughter before running away," an Iraqi army first lieutenant said on condition of anonymity.

A doctor in the provincial capital Tikrit's main hospital confirmed the toll, and said all of the victims had died of gunshot wounds.

It was not immediately clear why the family was targeted.

Mainly Sunni Arab Salaheddin province was a key battleground in the insurgency that followed the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 that overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime.

In the main northern city of Mosul, four people were killed and 55 others wounded in two apparently coordinated explosions near the provincial governor's official residence.

A police official said the two blasts were caused by a roadside bomb followed by the detonation of an explosives-packed car along a street lined by restaurants frequented by security force officers, while a military official said there had been two car bombs.

A police captain in Mosul and a doctor at the city's main hospital put the toll at four dead and 55 wounded.

Some 45,000 U.S. troops remain stationed in Iraq, primarily charged with training and equipping their domestic counterparts. All American soldiers must leave the country by year-end, according to the terms of a security pact.

Violence has fallen sharply across Iraq since its peak in 2006 and 2007, although attacks remain common. A total of 177 Iraqis were killed as a result of violence in May, according to official figures.

Source: Agence France Presse

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