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Baghdad suicide bombing kills at least 9

A suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into a checkpoint in southern Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least nine people, including four policemen, officials said.

Violence has spiked across much of Iraq amid a Sunni militant offensive that has seized control of huge tracts of territory north and west of Baghdad. The government has moved aggressively to try to secure the capitol, and in recent weeks the city has largely been spared the large-scale attacks that plagued it earlier this year.

Smaller scale attacks, however, remain common.

Saturday's bombing targeted a police checkpoint in the Shiite neighborhood of Abu Dashir, a police officer said. He said 19 people were wounded in the attack, including six policemen.

A medical official confirmed the casualty figures.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.