BAGHDAD (AFP) -- Attacks near Baghdad and north of Iraq's capital left seven people dead on Saturday, amid a protracted surge in bloodshed fueling fears the country is slipping back into all-out sectarian war.
Iraq's worst violence since 2008 has left more than 650 people dead already this month and forced authorities to appeal for international help in combating militancy just months before a general election.
No group has claimed responsibility for most of the unrest, but officials have focused on resurgent Al-Qaeda front groups emboldened by the civil war in neighboring Syria that has given militants room to plan and carry out attacks.
Violence on Saturday struck near Baghdad, as well as in and around the main northern city of Mosul and the ethnically-mixed town of Tuz Khurmatu, all areas that have been hit hard in recent months.
A car bomb and two roadside bombs in towns on the outskirts of the capital killed four people, security and medical officials said.
And attacks in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, and near Tuz Khurmatu left three more dead.
More than 6,000 people have died in violence so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical officials.
Security forces have trumpeted operations against militants primarily in Sunni-majority northern and western Iraq, which they say are having an impact.
But diplomats and analysts say the government has not resolved the underlying problems fueling the bloodshed, namely anger in the Sunni Arab minority over alleged mistreatment at the hands of the Shiite-led authorities.