Baghdad suicide car bomb kills six during morning rush hour

BAGHDAD (AFP) - A suicide car bomb targeting a Baghdad police station killed six people on Sunday, the latest in a string of bombings and attacks that have revived fears of all-out sectarian war in Iraq.

The blast, which struck during morning rush hour in the mostly-Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiyah, went off near a branch of the Istikbarat, a department of the police responsible for intelligence, according to security and medical officials.

Six people were killed, including three of the branch's guards, and 22 others were wounded, the officials said.

Kadhimiyah is home to a shrine to Imam Musa Kadhim, a revered figure in Shiite Islam, and last week was the site of massive commemorations for his 799 AD death.

Sunni militants, including those linked to Al-Qaeda, view Shiites as apostates and often target them for attacks. However, no group immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday's bombing.

Violence in Iraq has risen sharply, with May being the deadliest month since 2008, as persistent political disputes have given fuel and room for militants to increase their activities.

There has been a heightened level of attacks since the beginning of the year, coinciding with rising discontent among the Sunni Arab minority that erupted into protests in late December.

The UN envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler has warned that the violence is "ready to explode".

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