More than 100 people were killed and at least 200 injured in a series of car bombings, suicide bombings and explosions from improvised devices that rocked the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Tuesday evening, security sources and witnesses said.
The blasts — 21 in all — targeted cafes, restaurants and popular markets. Eleven of them were car bombs and attacks by suicide bombers, witnesses told DPA.
Police rushed to close all roads leading to the sites of the explosions as the sound of ambulances wailed throughout the city.
A curfew was imposed by police on the capital, with patrols going around the city telling people no to leave their homes.
Earlier on Tuesday, five people died and two were injured in unrelated attacks, security sources said.
Three policemen and an al-Qaeda militant were killed by a bomb targeting a police convoy in the area of al-Khaneqeen, 60 km north-east of Baghdad. Two policemen were injured in the blast.
The convoy had been transporting Emad Rawkan, an al-Qaeda leader in the al-Saadiya area, to the village of al-Hafayif to investigate his involvement in a bomb attack that left four policemen dead last week.
In a separate incident, a man was killed by a bomb that had been placed outside his home in the city of Fallujah, 60 km west of Baghdad.
The latest round of attacks comes just two days after militants reportedly affiliated with al-Qaeda took worshippers hostage at a church in Baghdad. More than 50 people were killed and more than 70 injured in the incident.
A day earlier, more than 30 people had been killed and more than 67 injured when a suicide bomb ripped through a crowded coffee shop in the Iraqi city of Baquba, some 57 km north of Baghdad.
The attacks come amid a political stalemate surrounding the formation of a new government that has dragged on for nearly eight months.