Baghdad official escapes bombing as attacks kill 8

Sunni women react during the funeral of a victim who was killed in a Sunni mosque after two roadside bombs attacks in Baquba, around 65 km (40 miles) northeast of the capital Baghdad, September 13, 2013. Two roadside bombs killed 30 people outside a mosque in the Iraqi city of Baquba just as Sunni Muslim worshippers were leaving following Friday prayers, police said.

BAGHDAD - The head of Baghdad provincial council escaped assassination when a car bomb hit his convoy on Sunday, part of a wave of nationwide violence that left eight people dead.

The attacks were the latest in a surge in unrest in recent months that has sparked concern Iraq is slipping back into the all-out sectarian bloodshed that plagued the country in 2006 and 2007.

The car bomb against the convoy of Riyadh al-Adhadh, the chief of the provincial council and a Sunni lawmaker belonging to the party of the national parliament speaker, killed two people and wounded four others, according to police and a medical source.

Adhadh was unharmed but one of his bodyguards was killed in the bombing, which struck in the Waziriyah neighbourhood of north Baghdad.

Attacks south of Baghdad - in Karbala, Nasiriyah, Hilla and Hafriyah - as well as the predominantly Sunni cities of Abu Ghraib and Mosul left six others dead.

The latest violence comes amid a months-long increase in violence, Iraq's worst since 2008, with the country grappling with a prolonged political deadlock and spillover from neighbouring Syria's ongoing civil war.

Just a day earlier, a suicide bomber at a funeral near Mosul, Iraq's main northern city, killed 27 people and wounded dozens more, while violence in just the past week has left more than 150 people dead.

Authorities have sought to combat the bloodshed with a range of anti-militant operations and tight traffic rules in the capital, but Iraq has continued to suffer deadly attacks.

Officials insist a weeks-long campaign targeting militants is yielding results, but the government has faced criticism for not doing more to defuse anger in the Sunni Arab community over alleged ill-treatment at the hands of the Shiite-led authorities.

Analysts and diplomats say militant groups exploit that on the ground to recruit and carry out attacks.