9 dead in 2 days of violence across Iraq

Baghdad (CNN) -- Violence across Iraq has claimed nine lives in the past two days, officials with the nation's interior ministry said Monday.

Gunmen killed Arkan Yaqoub, a Christian citizen, who was shot dead along with his driver by gunmen as they were driving in central Mosul on Monday morning, said ministry officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns and because they are not authorized to talk to the media.

Yaqoub was the deputy director of the state cement factory in Mosul. The motive behind his killing was unknown, but many Iraqi Christians have been targeted since 2004 by Sunni extremist groups, prompting many to flee the country.

In Saqlawaiya, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of Falluja, two civilians were shot to death by gunmen Monday morning. The two were driving in a car when gunmen intercepted the vehicle on a highway, the officials said. The motive was unknown.

In northeastern Baghdad's al-Shaab neighborhood, a roadside bomb exploded near a minibus Monday, killing one civilian and wounding five others, the officials said. Elsewhere, a police officer at al-Kadhimiya civic court died when a bomb attached to his car exploded in the Saba al-Boor district of northern Baghdad.

On Sunday, an Iraqi servicemember and a firefighter died when they responded to the scene of a roadside bombing. The bombing targeted a liquor store in the Abu Ghraib area of western Baghdad and set the building ablaze. When the servicemember and firefighter responded, another roadside bomb exploded. Six people were wounded.

There have been at least 20 such bombings at liquor stores across Baghdad since the beginning of March, when the Iraqi government decided to reopen liquor stores and bars in the capital city. They had been closed for four months. The interior ministry officials said Sunni and Shiite extremists are believed to be behind the attacks.

In the al-Taji district in Baghdad's northern outskirts, an Iraqi police officer was shot by gunmen while driving in a car Sunday afternoon, the officials said.

Atheel al-Nujaifi, Mosul's governor, escaped a roadside bombing unharmed Monday morning. He was driving to Baghdad in a convoy consisting of six vehicles when a roadside bomb exploded at one of the vehicles. One of al-Nujaifi's bodyguards was wounded, the interior ministry officials said. The incident occurred about 110 kilometers (68 miles) south of Mosul.

Others were wounded in attacks, interior ministry officials said. Five civilians were wounded in a roadside bombing in eastern Baghdad on Monday, and two employees of a security company were wounded in another roadside bombing in southeastern Baghdad. On Sunday, a police lieutenant was wounded when a bomb attached to his car exploded.

Overall, violence in Iraq is down considerably from its peak between 205 and 2007. However, assassinations, gunfire and bombs remain regular occurrences.

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