Officials: 2 attacks kill 9 people in Iraq

SAMEER N. YACOUB
Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — Two attacks in Iraq targeting diners in a cafe and swimmers in a stream on Wednesday killed at least nine people, as violence surges during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Violence in Iraq is now at its deadliest level in half a decade, raising fears the country is returning to the widespread bloodshed that pushed the country to the edge of civil war. More than 2,800 people have been killed since the start of April.

The deadlier of the two attacks took place late at night when a bomb went off inside a cafe packed with people in the restive city of Mosul, killing five and wounding 14.

Mosul, a former al-Qaida stronghold, is 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad.

In many Iraqi cities, cafes where people tend to gather at night become frequent targets of militants.

Hours earlier, police said a bomb exploded near a group of people who were swimming in a stream in Wajihiya, a town 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, killing two swimmers and two passers-by. The swimmers were trying to escape the summer heat.

Temperatures in Baghdad soared above 45 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit).

Earlier this week, a mortar attack on swimmers in the Tigris River killed four people

Hospital officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters.