BAGHDAD: A roadside bomb exploded near a truck carrying workers in Iraq on Wednesday, killing eight people, a police officer and a hospital employee said.

The blast south of Baghdad also wounded seven, they said.

Violence in Iraq has reached a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal sectarian conflict.

This year's surge in violence has raised fears of a relapse into the kind of intense Sunni-Shia bloodshed that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands of people.

Diplomats and analysts say the Shia-led government's failure to address the grievances of the Sunni Arab minority — which complains of political exclusion and abuses by security forces — has driven the rise in unrest.

With the latest violence, more than 200 people have been killed so far this month, and over 4,900 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

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