The Iraqi capital Baghdad continues to reel under a fresh wave of car bombings, adding to the carnage that the embattled city — once a showpiece of affluence and stability in the Arab world — has suffered in recent months.

At least 62 people were killed, following coordinated strikes during rush hour on Sunday, the first working day of the week in the region.

The attacks targeted areas where there was a heavy concentration of Shias, mainly markets and a bus stations. Apparently, these blasts were meant to further inflame sectarian strife, in a nation of 32 million, whose composite social fabric has already been stretched thin because of machinations that have pitted Sunnis, Shias, Christians and Kurds against each other, in the aftermath of the country’ s invasion by the United States and its allies in 2003.

Starting at around 9.30 am local time, the frenzy of bombings tore through 10 locations within a space of 40 minutes. Over a 100 people were injured during the strikes. Separately, a suicide bomber in northern Iraq killed eight soldiers who had queued up to collect their pay packages.

Overwhelmed by the spiralling violence, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said on October 23 that Iraq is facing a “war of genocide”. “It has become clear... that Iraq is subjected to a war of genocide targeting all of its components,” said the Iraqi Premier during a press conference.

Rising death toll

The statistics regarding the mounting death toll in Iraq in 2013 make a dismal reading. More than 5,250 people have been killed in 2013 so far, with 600 perishing in October alone. A U.N. estimate reveals that July has been the deadliest month since 2008, underscored by 1,057 deaths, which have included 928 civilian victims.

A study undertaken by academics from the United States, Canada and Iraq has revealed that war-related incidents have claimed half-a-million lives since the U.S.-led invasion of the country over a decade ago.

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