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Dozens Dead In Kirkuk Cafe Blast

The aftermath of the fatal bombing in Kirkuk on July 12

The aftermath of the fatal bombing in Kirkuk on July 12

Officials in Iraq say at least 38 people have been killed and around 25 others wounded in an attack by a suicide bomber in the northern city of Kirkuk.

The blast on the evening of July 12 targeted a crowded café in the ethnically-mixed, oil-rich city.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible, but similar attacks have been previously blamed on Sunni extremists linked to Al-Qaeda.

Attacks linked to sectarian hostilities between Iraq’s majority Shi'a and minority Sunnis have killed thousands of people this year, including some 760 in June, according to the United Nations.

The sharp increase in retaliatory Sunni-Shi'a attacks, which comes amid a long-running political crisis, has raised fears of a return to the violence that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in 2006-07.

In related news, attacks targeting security forces in Iraq have killed at least seven people.

Police said on July 12 that gunmen shot dead senior police official Brigadier General Sabri Abed Issa near Sharqat, northwest of Baghdad.

In another incident, an unnamed former policeman was killed in Muqdadiyah, northeast of the capital.

In the northern city of Mosul, a suicide car bomber killed four policemen and wounded two more at a police checkpoint.

A separate roadside bomb attack killed a policeman and wounded another in the same city.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP and dpa