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Suicide bomber hits Iraqi cafe, killing 38

| Friday, July 12, 2013, 9:03 p.m.

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a crowded coffee shop late Friday in Kirkuk, killing at least 38 and wounding more than two dozen in the latest in a string of bloody attacks pounding Iraq since the start of the holy month of Ramadan this week.

Iraq is being rocked by its deadliest and most sustained wave of bloodshed in half a decade. More than 2,600 people have been killed since the start of April, raising fears that the country is once again edging toward the brink of civil war a decade since Saddam Hussein was toppled in the U.S.-led invasion.

Another suicide bomber and a shooting elsewhere in the country killed five members of the security forces, bringing the day's toll to 43.

The late-night blast ripped through the Classico Cafe in Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, as patrons were enjoying tea and water pipes hours after the sunset meal that breaks the daylong Ramadan fast, police officials said.

The city is a flash point for ethnic tensions, with its mix of Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen holding competing claims to claims for control of the oil-rich area.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the Kirkuk blast or other attacks in recent days.

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