Violence continued to rock Iraq on Wednesday, killing at least 23 people and injuring another 22 in shootings and explosions around the volatile Middle Eastern nation, according to police.
The day's deadliest attack happened Wednesday evening on a highway near the town of Sulaiman Bek, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) north of Baghdad in the predominantly Sunni Muslim province of Salaheddin.
There, at least 12 truck drivers were killed and three others wounded when gunmen attacked their vehicles, police from nearby Tikrit said.
On Wednesday morning, gunmen ambushed a security checkpoint about 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) north of Mosul, killing seven federal police officials and wounding three others.
The attackers then went after an ambulance that had raced to the scene, injuring three people inside that vehicle, police in Mosul said.
Cities were not immune to Wednesday's bloodshed. In al-Qahira, a neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad, four people died and 13 were wounded when a bomb exploded outside a shopping market, police in the Iraqi capital said.
These incidents are the latest examples of violence to hit Iraq in recent months, much of it stemming from discord between Sunnis and Shiites, the two largest branches of Islam. Sunnis have felt politically marginalized under a Shiite-led government since the ouster of longtime leader Saddam Hussein in a 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
On Monday and Tuesday a total of 32 people died in explosions in Baghdad and Mosul, according to police officials.
And suicide bombers and militants armed with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns staged coordinated attacks Sunday night on two Iraqi prisons as inmates inside rioted and set fires. The crisis ended with more than 500 inmates escaping -- some of them senior al Qaeda members -- according to lawmaker Hakim al-Zamili.
At least 21 inmates and at least eight prison guards were killed, the Iraqi Justice Ministry said, while 25 inmates and 14 guards were wounded.