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At least 30 killed in Iraq suicide bombing

BAGHDAD -- At least 30 people were killed Sunday when a suicide bomber targeted police headquarters in northern Iraq, officials said.

The attacker used a car bomb in the city of Kirkuk, some 250 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, they said.

On Jan. 23, at least 35 people died in a suicide attack in a Shiite mosque north of Baghdad.

The spike in violence comes amid a widening crisis between the Shiite-led government and the country's formerly dominant Sunni minority.

Thousands of Sunni protesters have been rallying for weeks against Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, demanding a repeal of laws they claim target Sunnis.

Iraq has witnessed near-daily attacks since U.S. troops withdrew in December 2011, raising fears of a return to the sectarian tensions that drove the country close to civil war in 2006 and 2007.

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In this series from August, 2010, as the American military presence in Iraq was being reduced, Stars and Stripes looked at the costs of the war through the eyes of Iraqis and Americans and asked: What difference did we really make?