46 killed in wave of car bombings
A coordinated wave of seven car bombs tore through bustling commercial streets in Shiite areas of Baghdad, part of a relentless wave of violence that killed at least 46 inside and outside the capital.
The car bombs detonated after the meal that breaks the daily fast of the holy month of Ramadan.
Bombings and other attacks have now killed more than 250 people since the start of Ramadan on July 10. The violence is a continuation of a surge of bloodshed that has rocked Iraq for months, reviving fears of a return to the widespread sectarian killings that pushed the country to the brink of civil war after the 2003 US-led invasion.
Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, coordinated bombings against Shiites are a favourite tactic of al Qaida's Iraq branch.
The blasts began with an explosion in a busy shopping street that shook buildings in the central Baghdad neighbourhood of Karrada. Police say that attack killed nine and wounded 17.
Similar car bombs struck the northwestern Tobchi district, killing eight and wounding 29, and Baiyaa in western Baghdad, killing three and wounding 13, authorities said.
Another blast struck Zafaraniyah in southeastern Baghdad, killing six and wounding 15, officials said.
Two separate car bombs exploded in the New Baghdad neighbourhood in the southeast, killing five people and wounding 17, authorities said.
Yet another car bomb exploded in a Shiite part of the religiously mixed western neighbourhood of Shurta, killing four and wounding 12, authorities said. Hours before the Baghdad blasts, gunmen in pickup trucks shot and killed the local leader of a local Sunni militia opposed to al Qaida and two of his bodyguards near the city of Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of the Iraqi capital, according to police.
The official, Bassem Mahmoud, headed a Sunni group known as Sahwa, which joined the fight against al Qaida during the height of Iraq war. He was killed a day after a deadly bombing at a Sunni mosque in Diyala killed 22 people and wounded dozens.