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Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:31PM
Iraqi police forces stand guard at a checkpoint in central Baghdad on July 24, 2012. (File photo)

Iraqi police forces stand guard at a checkpoint in central Baghdad on July 24, 2012. (File photo)

Four members of the military forces have been killed near Iraq's northern city of Mosul after unidentified assailants opened fire on their car. A local police source told Xinhua news agency on condition of anonymity that four Iraqi army soldiers were shot dead when gunmen stopped their car in the town of al-Shora, situated some 400 kilometers (248 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, on Saturday. The source added that the soldiers were on leave in civilian clothes when the armed men attacked their vehicle. In another incident, Ahmed al-Alwani, an outspoken lawmaker affiliated to the Iraqia parliamentary bloc, survived an assassination attempt when a roadside bomb went off near his convoy in Abu Ghraib area, located some 20 kilometers (24 miles) west of Baghdad. An unnamed Interior Ministry official said one of the vehicles in Alwani's convoy was damaged in the blast while two of his bodyguards suffered injuries. Bombings and shootings have recently increased across Iraq, and many believe that the attacks are being carried out to undermine the central government. Official figures show that September was the bloodiest month in Iraq in almost two years, with attacks killing 365 people, the highest monthly death toll since August 2010. The statistics, which were compiled by the health, interior, and defense ministries, show that 182 civilians, 88 police officers, and 95 soldiers were killed in attacks in September. The violence reached a crescendo on September 8 and 9, when more than 30 attacks killed at least 88 people and injured more than 400. September 30 was the second deadliest day of the month, with a death toll of 33 and 106 injured. Violence has increased in Iraq since December 2011, when an arrest warrant was issued for fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who has been charged with running a death squad targeting Iraqi officials and Shia Muslims. In response, the government has stepped up efforts to increase security across the country over the past few months. MP/AS
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