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Wave of Iraq bombings kill 38

BAGHDAD -- A wave of coordinated blasts that tore through overwhelmingly Shia cities shortly before the breaking of the Ramadan fast and other attacks killed at least 38 Sunday in Iraq, the latest in a surge of violence that is raising fears the country is sliding back toward full-scale sectarian fighting.

Insurgents have been pounding Iraq with bombings and other attacks for months in the worst eruption of violence in half a decade. The pace of the killing has picked up since Ramadan began Wednesday, with daily mass-casualty attacks marring what is meant to be a month of charity and peaceful reflection. Insurgents often increased attacks during Ramadan following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Yesterday's explosions struck shortly before the evening iftar meal that ends the daylong Ramadan fast. In the deadliest attack, at least eight people were killed and 15 were wounded in the southern port city of Basra when a car bomb and then a follow-up blast went off near an office of a Shia political party, according to two police officers. -- AP

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