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Iraq death toll passes 500 in May

Violence in Iraq has killed more than 500 people in May, AFP figures showed on Tuesday, as authorities struggled to contain a wave of unrest that has raised fears of all-out sectarian conflict.

As of Tuesday, 507 people were killed and 1,287 wounded, making May the deadliest month in at least a year, according to the data, based on reports from security and medical sources. May is the second month in a row in which more than 400 people have been killed, for a total exceeding 960 people in less than two months.

A bomb exploded on a bus on Tuesday in Sadr City, a Shiite area of north Baghdad, killing four people and wounding at least 14, security and medical officials said. The blast comes a day after a wave of attacks, including bombings in Baghdad that mainly targeted Shiite areas, killed 58 people and wounded 187, according to officials.

Iraq is faced with various long-running political crises over issues ranging from power-sharing to territorial boundaries, that have paralyzed the government. Iraq has seen a heightened level of violence since the beginning of the year, coinciding with rising discontent among Iraqi Sunnis that erupted into protests in late December.
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