A wave of car bombings, mainly targeting cafes and markets around Baghdad, have killed 69 people out celebrating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The death toll in Saturday's attacks is the highest since July 20, when assaults on two prisons near Baghdad plus other attacks left 71 dead. Violence has been on the rise across Iraq since a deadly crackdown by government forces on a Sunni protest camp in April, and attacks against civilians and security forces notably spiked during Ramadan.
The surge of attacks has sparked fears that the country could spiral into a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.
Police said the deadliest of the attacks took place when a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into a residential area in the town of Tuz Khormato, killing eight people and wounding dozens, Mayor Shalal Abdool said. The town is about 130 miles north of the Iraqi capital.
Police said a car bomb exploded near an outdoor market in the Baghdad's south eastern suburbs of Jisr Diyala shortly before sunset, killing seven people and wounding 20. Also in south eastern Baghdad, officials said a car bomb went off inside a parking lot in the mainly Shiite New Baghdad neighbourhood, killing three people.
Saif Mousa, the owner of a shoe store in New Baghdad, said he was sitting inside his shop when he heard the explosion.
"My shop's windows were smashed and smoke filled the whole area," Mr Mousa said. "I went outside of the shop and I could hardly see because of the smoke. ... At the end, we had a terrible day that was supposed to be nice" because of the holiday.
Another car bomb exploded in a busy street in the Shiite neighbourhood of Amil, killing three people and wounding 14, authorities said. They said another car bomb in Amil killed three people and wounded 14. In the holy Shiite city of Karbala, police said four people were killed in a car bomb attack near a cafe at night.
Police said four people were killed and 15 wounded when a car bomb exploded near a cafe in Baghdad's Shiite neighbourhood of Abu Dashir. In northern Baghdad, a car bomb hit a restaurant in the Shiite area of Khazimiyah, killing five people and wounding 14, authorities said. Police also said that five people were killed when a car bomb exploded near a cafe in Baghdad's south western neighbourhood of Baiyaa.
Six people were killed and 15 were wounded in a car bomb explosion in the Shiite neighbourhood of Shaab in north eastern Baghdad, officials said. A car bomb hit near restaurant in the city's north eastern suburb of Husseiniyah, killing seven people and wounding 15, police said. Also, a car bomb explosion on a commercial street in the Dora area in southern Baghdad killed five and wounded 15, authorities said. Police officials said that all those attacks took place within an hour. Security forces and Shiites have been favourite targets for insurgents.