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Five killed in checkpoint shooting

Gunmen have killed five Iraqi security officials in a half-hour shooting spree targeting checkpoints in Shiite-dominated neighbourhoods around Baghdad, authorities have said.

By targeting Iraqi security forces and Shiite areas, insurgents aim to weaken confidence in the government and aggravate sectarian tension as thousands of American troops leave the country by the end of this month.

Two police officials said the gunmen killed four policemen and a member of a government-backed group of Sunni fighters on Saturday.

Officials at two hospitals and the Baghdad morgue confirmed the deaths.

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