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Bombings take the lives of at least 16 people in north of Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq--A car bomb went off in a commercial area of a restive northern Iraqi city on Sunday, killing at least 10 people, while a separate bombing killed 6 people, officials said.

The explosives-laden parked car targeted a joint Iraqi army and police patrol while it passed through a busy commercial area in Mosul, killing five civilians and five security personnel, a police officer said. He added that at least 12 other people were wounded in that blast.

A medical official confirmed the figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

Mosul is located about 360 kilometers northwest of Baghdad.

Hours earlier, a suicide car bomber drove his vehicle into a security checkpoint in the northern town of Dibis, killing six people and wounding 15 others, police chief Col. Bestoon Rasheed said. He added that 15 other people were wounded in the attack.

Civilians were among the victims, but a breakdown of the casualties was not immediately available. The town is located near the city of Kirkuk, 290 kilometers north of Baghdad.

Violence has escalated in Iraq over the past year, with 2013 seeing the highest death toll since the worst sectarian bloodletting in 2007, according to the United Nations figures. More than 8,800 people were killed in violence last year.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but suicide bombings and well-coordinated attacks are a hallmark of an al-Qaida's breakaway branch that operates in Iraq, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Sunni Insurgent groups have escalated attacks across the country since last year in bid to undermine the Shiite-led government.

The attacks happened just weeks before parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held on April 30. There will be no voting in parts of the western Anbar province, where security forces are clashing with Islamic militants and fighters who control the provincial capital, Ramadi, and nearly all of the nearby city of Fallujah.

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