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Escalating violence warns of civil war in Iraq

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s wave of bloodshed sharply escalated Monday with more than a dozen car bombings across the country, part of attacks that killed at least 95 people and brought echoes of past sectarian carnage and fears of a dangerous spillover from Syria’s civil war next door.

The latest spiral of violence – which has claimed more than 240 lives in the past week – carries the hallmarks of the two sides that brought nearly nonstop chaos to Iraq for years: Sunni insurgents, including al-Qaida’s branch in Iraq, and Shiite militias defending their newfound power after Saddam Hussein’s fall.

But the widening shadow and regional brinksmanship from Syria’s conflict now increasingly threaten to feed into Iraq’s sectarian strife, heightening concerns that Iraq could be facing civil war.

There have been no claims of responsibility for the current violence, capped by Monday’s body count that was the highest death toll for a single day in 10 months.

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