Three soldiers and four militants were killed on Tuesday in attacks targeting Iraqi troops in central and northern areas of the country, police said.

Militants clashed with army forces near a military checkpoint in the central city of Tikrit. Two soldiers and four insurgents were killed, including a senior al-Qaeda member, a police official told DPA.

In the northern city of Mosul, a soldier was killed and two others were injured when a bomb targeting their patrol went off.

The attacks come amid a surge in violence in Iraq, raising fears of a return to the sectarian violence that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in 2006-07.

Militants increase their attacks in Iraq during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

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