34 killed as violence persists in Iraq

Iraqi security gather at the site of a twin car bombs in the Karrada area of the capital Baghdad on July 31, 2012.

Story highlights

  • Bombings and shootings on Thursday and Friday leave 34 people dead
  • The attacks follow a particularly deadly July
  • The unrest coincides with a political crisis among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds

Iraqi cities have endured another spurt of attacks in the last two days, with bombings and shootings that left more than 30 people dead.

Five police officers were killed Friday -- four in Dhuluiya north of the capital of Baghdad and another in the northeastern Baghdad neighborhood of Waziriya. This follows a flurry of attacks in the capital and outlying provinces Thursday that left 29 dead, including police, soldiers, civilians, pro-government militia members and insurgent gunmen.

Read more: Violence in Iraq reached nearly 2-year peak in July

Violence has dropped dramatically in Iraq since the peak of Sunni-Shiite clashes in 2006 and 2007 and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country in December, but insurgent attacks against civilians and security forces persist in the country, still smoldering with sectarian tension and political infighting.

Lately, the bloodshed conjured images of Iraq when it was engulfed in war.

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At least 20 people died Tuesday in bombings. And on July 23, the deadliest day of 2012, at least 103 people were killed in coordinated attacks across the country. The Islamic State of Iraq, an al Qaeda-linked group, claimed responsibility for the July 23 attacks and called the actions a "new phase."

Opinion: Violence in Iraq? It's the politics, stupid!

At least 325 deaths were recorded in July, one of the deadliest months in a couple of years.

The unrest coincides with an emerging political crisis, with Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish political blocs increasingly at odds in the fractious legislature.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is Shiite, has struggled to forge a power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security.

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