A car bomb has exploded near one of Shiite Islam's holiest sites in the city of Najaf, killing seven people.
Officials said the blast went off about 500 yards from the shrine of Imam Ali, one of the most revered Shiite saints. Two Iranian pilgrims were among those killed.
The blast came hours after a car bombing in Karbala, another holy Shiite city south of Baghdad, also killed seven people, including six Iranian pilgrims.
The incidents came as Iraqi politicians met in the northern city of Irbil in an attempt to form a new government after inconclusive elections in March.
The leaders of Iraq's main political blocs met briefly in the northern city of Irbil in a rare face-to-face gathering that failed to produce a new government and highlighted the many issues that still divide them.
All of those present stressed the opening session of the three-day meeting was a positive development for the gridlocked negotiating process, but that a new government was still far away.
After the 90-minute, nationally televised meeting concluded, the political leaders agreed to meet again in Baghdad.