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Swimmer, 10, among Iraq bombing victims

BAGHDAD -- Attacks across Iraq on Monday killed nine people, including a 10-year-old boy out swimming with friends, the latest in a surge of violence rocking Iraq during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Violence in Iraq is at its deadliest level in half a decade, raising fears the country is returning to the widespread bloodshed that pushed the country to the edge of civil war. More than 2,800 people have been killed since the start of April.

Yesterday's deadliest attack was a mortar barrage near a group of people trying to escape the blistering summer heat by swimming in the Tigris River near Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad.

Four people were killed in the mortar shelling, including the boy, and 11 others were wounded, according to police.

Temperatures in Baghdad soared above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, a car bomb went off near a passing security patrol, killing a policeman and wounding 11 other people, including four civilians. The blast left a crater six feet wide near the side of the road, and the charred hull of the blue police pickup truck lay mangled in the street.

Hours later, a suicide bomber slammed his explosives-laden car into an army checkpoint near Kirkuk, killing two soldiers, according to Lt. Gen. Mohammed Khalaf, a senior military commander in the city.

More than 140 people have been killed since Muslims in Iraq began observing Ramadan on Wednesday. -- AP

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