A man looks at a shop, the site of a car bomb attack in Hilla, 100km south of Baghdad, yesterday
BAGHDAD: A wave of coordinated car bombs ripped through Shia areas of Baghdad yesterday, the deadliest attacks in nationwide violence that killed 50 people, as Iraq grapples with surging unrest.
The bloodshed added to concerns that Iraq is edging towards a return to the sectarian war that killed tens of thousands in 2006-2007, amid a long-running political deadlock and concerns of a spillover from the conflict in neighbouring Syria.
Eleven car bombs went off in Shia neighbourhoods of Baghdad, killing at least 40 people and wounding more than 100, security and medical officials said.
The blasts went off at around 6pm, and hit a range of civilian targets, from an ice cream shop in the central commercial district of Karrada to a popular market in the northern neighbourhood of Maamal. Another car bomb went off near a Shia mosque in eastern Baghdad.
And a vehicle rigged with explosives in Talbiyah, in the north, was detonated near a crowded wholesale fruit and vegetable market. It badly damaged several cars and more than a dozen shops.
The bombings were the latest in a trend of attacks timed to coincide with people visiting cafes and other public areas during the evening.
In the past, coordinated violence has typically been confined to the morning rush-hour, when the capital is normally in gridlock.
Interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan, put the overall toll from the city-wide violence at nine dead, and 81 wounded in 10 attacks.
No group immediately claimed responsibility, but Sunni militants linked to Al Qaeda frequently carry out coordinated attacks targeting the Shia majority. Ten other people were killed in attacks earlier in the day, officials said.
Gunmen entered the home of a Sunni Arab militiaman in south Baghdad and killed him, his wife, two sons and a daughter.
And attacks in and around Baghdad, the main northern city of Mosul and the southern port of Basra killed five people, including a policeman and a mosque imam.