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11 dead in bomb and gun attacks

Twin car bombings in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and an attack by eight gunmen on the home of a school teacher in the centre of the country left at least 11 people dead, government officials have said.

Violence is raking Iraq as the Shiite-led government and other political factions are debating a request for some American forces to remain in the country beyond the December 31 deadline for all US troops to withdraw after more than eight years.

While violence is well below what it had been during intense Shiite-Sunni sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007, militants are again stepping up deadly attacks around the country. That has led to concerns about what happens when the 47,000 US troops still in the country are withdrawn.

Police and hospital officials in Mosul said two car bombs exploded in quick succession, killing six people. At least one of the bombs seemed aimed at a police patrol. Mosul is Iraq's third largest city, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.

Abdul-Rahim al-Shimmari, a member of the provincial council, said 52 people were wounded in the blast.

In the other attack, eight gunmen stormed the house of a school teacher overnight and killed his three sons and daughter, said Mohammed al-Asi, the spokesman for central Salahuddin province.

He said the gunmen were in a minibus and fled after the midnight attack in a village outside of Tikrit. Authorities were investigating the motive behind the killing to see whether it was an act of insurgents or tribal conflict, he added.

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