- Car bomb in Mosul targeting security patrol kills nine people, police say
- Separate deadly clashes break out in Mosul, killing 10
- Violence also targets other northern Iraqi towns, nine killed in al-Dibis and Sulaiman Bek
- Iraq violence has escalated over the past year
A car bomb went off in the restive northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday, killing nine people, while 10 others were killed in clashes there, security officials said.
The explosives-laden car targeted a joint security patrol of the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces, police officials told CNN. Five Iraqi soldiers and four members of the Kurdish forces were killed, while another 12 people were injured.
Separately, four Iraqi soldiers and six gunmen were killed in clashes between the army and insurgents in two neighborhoods in eastern Mosul, military officials there told CNN.
Seven Iraqi soldiers were wounded.
Army Gen. Abdul-Hussein Aydan told CNN the Iraqi army had launched a military operation in eastern Mosul against armed groups ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for the end of April.
Mosul is a predominantly Sunni city about 420 kilometers (260 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad. It is considered one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq, with al Qaeda-linked groups active there.
In al-Dibis, about 310 kilometers north of Baghdad, a suicide bomber targeted a security checkpoint manned by local police and Kurdish forces, killing six people and wounding seven others. The town is located near the city of Kirkuk.
In Sulaiman Bek, also north of Baghdad, gunmen attacked the house of a leader of the local Awakening Council, killing three of his family members, police officials in Tikrit said. The leader was not in his house when the attack happened but two people were snatched from the house, police added.
Awakening Councils, also known as the Sons of Iraq and Sahawat, are composed primarily of Sunni Arab fighters who turned against al Qaeda in late 2006. The U.S.-backed movement is credited with having contributed to a drop in violence across Iraq, but council members have become targets for remaining jihadists.
Iraq has been beset with political and sectarian violence for months, often pitting Sunnis -- a minority in Iraq -- against Shiite Muslims, who came to dominate the government after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003
Violence has escalated over the past year; the United Nations said 2013 was the deadliest year in Iraq since 2008, with more than 8,800 people killed, most of them civilians.