Iraqi officials say a suicide car bomb in a Shiite neighborhood in northern Baghdad has killed seven people and wounded 18.

Two police officers say the attacker rammed his explosives-laden car into an army checkpoint on Sunday morning in the busy Kazimiyah neighborhood, killing five soldiers and two civilian bystanders. They said 18 other people, including six civilians, were wounded.

A medical official in a nearby hospital confirmed the casualty figure. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

Two revered Shiite saints are buried in Kazimiyah, making it one of the country's main pilgrimage destinations for Shiites and an important commercial hub in the capital.

Violence has spiked in Iraq in recent weeks, raising fears of a return to widespread sectarian bloodshed.