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Canadian killed in Iraq violence, Baird says
Foreign affairs minister says officials are in touch with Canadian's family
The Canadian Press Posted: May 21, 2013 10:07 PM ET Last Updated: May 21, 2013 10:23 PM ET
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says a Canadian is among those killed in a spate of recent sectarian violence in Iraq.
A string of attacks in the Mideast country has killed more than 270 people in just the past week.
Baird says consular officials are in touch with the Canadian's family and are offering assistance.
He says he's grown "increasingly concerned" about the violence that has rocked Iraqi cities and towns in recent days.
Baird says while the security situation in Iraq has been fragile for years, the most recent violence is "particularly troubling" and risks plunging the country into a civil war.
He says Canada will be monitoring the situation carefully and is urging Iraqi authorities to do all they can to increase security.
Rising tensions between Sunnis and the Shia-led government in Iraq have burst into a new round of bloodshed recently with scenes reminiscent of some of the worst carnage during the days when the two Islamic sects battled each other as well as U.S.-led forces in the chaotic years after Saddam Hussein's ouster.
The violence has raised fears the country is sliding back to the brink of civil war amid rising Sunni anger over perceived mistreatment at the hands of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government and dangerous spillover from Syria's civil war next door, where the two factions are also pitted against each other.
A series of blitz attacks on Monday, stretching from north of Baghdad to the southern city of Basra and targeting bus stops, open-air markets and rush-hour crowds, killed 113 people.
Meanwhile, 20 were killed after a car bomb exploded as Sunni worshippers were leaving a mosque after evening prayers Tuesday in Baghdad. Several smaller attacks struck areas elsewhere in the country earlier Tuesday.
With files from the Associated Press
© The Canadian Press, 2013

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