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Monday
May202013

Continued Violence in Iraq Reaching Critical Point

iStockPhoto/ThinkstockUPDATE: A series of car bombings in Iraq on Monday has left close to 60 people dead and more than 200 others injured.

(BAGHDAD) -- Is Iraq destined for another civil war?

The most recent spike in sectarian-related violence leading to more 140 deaths in just four days has many worried that Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is losing control even as security patrols were ordered increased around the country.

Last Friday, at least 70 people died in targeted Sunni neighborhoods, with dozens killed in a bombing near a mosque north of Baghdad.

The capital itself is turning into an armed camp with more SWAT teams, army patrols, police officers and mobile checkpoints than in recent memory.

What precipitated the new tension was a government attack on a Sunni protest encampment about a month ago that led to Sunni tribesmen taking up arms to fight back against what they believe is continued oppression by the Shiite regime.

Last month, 700 people died in Iraq, the highest casualty figure in nearly five years.  During the first three weeks of May, there have been more than 300 killed by violence.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio