A new wave of insurgent attacks, mostly car bombs targeting Shiite-dominated cities in central and southern Iraq, killed at least 35 people, officials said.
The attacks continue a surge in bloodshed that has engulfed the country for months. No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts, which targeted commercial areas and car parks in seven cities. But systematically organised waves of bombings are used out by al Qaida's local branch, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, to undermine confidence in the Shiite-led government.
The deadliest was in the city of Hillah, 60 miles south of Baghdad, where a car bomb explosion near an outdoor market and parking lot killed nine civilians and wounded 15 others, a police officer said. A few minutes later, another car bomb went off nearby, killing six civilians and wounding 14, he added.
In the nearby town of Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of the capital, another car bomb hit a car park, killing four civilians and wounding nine, police said.
Another explosives-rigged parked car bomb went off in an industrial area of the Shiite city of Karbala, killing four and wounding 25, a police officer said. Karbala is 50 miles south of Baghdad. And in Kut, another Shiite-dominated city 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, a car bomb targeted a gathering of construction workers and food stalls, killing two and wounding 14, another provincial police officer said.
In Baghdad's northern Sunni-dominated Azamiyah neighbourhood, a car bomb exploded near the convoy of the head of Baghdad's provincial council killed three and wounded eight, police say. The council head escaped unharmed.
Two other car bombs hit the southern adjacent cities of Basra and Nasiriyah, killing five civilians and wounding 21, two police officers said. And two more civilians were killed when a bomb hit a police patrol in Baghdad's western suburbs. Nine other people were wounded.
Eight medical officials confirmed the casualty figures.
Iraq is going through its deadliest bout of violence since 2008, raising fears the country is returning to a period of widespread killing such as that which pushed it to the brink of civil war following the 2003 US-led invasion. More than 4,000 people have been killed in violent attacks since the start of April, including 804 just in August, according to United Nations figures.