Car bombs ripped through busy streets and markets in Iraq on Monday,killing at least 60 people in predominantly Shia areas in some of the deadliest violence since Sunni insurgents stepped up attacks this year.
The 17 blasts,which appeared to be coordinated,were concentrated on towns and cities in Iraqs mainly Shia south,and districts of the capital where Shias live.
Militant groups including Al-Qaeda have increased attacks in recent months in an insurgency against the Shia-led government as a civil war in neighbouring Syria heightens sectarian tensions.
The violence has raised fears of a return to full-blown intercommunal conflict in a country where ethnic Kurds,majority Shias and Sunni Muslims have yet to find a stable way of sharing power.
In Baghdads Shia stronghold of Sadr city,police and witnesses said a minivan drew up to a group of men waiting by the side of the road for day work,and the driver told them to get in before detonating an explosive device in the vehicle.
The driver asked labourers to get into the van,then he disappeared and minutes later the truck exploded,flinging the labourers bodies back, said Yahya Ali,a worker who was standing nearby.
Somebody tell me please why poor labourers are targeted? They want only to take food to their families!
Mondays attacks underscore deteriorating security in Iraq,where nearly 4,000 people have been killed since the start of the year,said violence monitoring group Iraq Body Count. In July,more than 810 people were killed in militant attacks.
I am deeply concerned about the heightened level of violence which carries the danger that the country falls back into sectarian strife, said acting United Nations envoy to Iraq,Gyorgy Busztin.
Iraq is bleeding from random violence,which sadly reached record heights during the holy month of Ramzan.
At least 10 people were killed when two car bombs blew up near a bus station in the city of Kut,150 km (95 miles) southeast of the capital,police said.
Four more were killed in a blast in the town of Mahmoudiya,about 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad,and two bombs in Samawa,further south,killed two.
The rest of the bombings took place across Baghdad,in the districts of Habibiya,Hurriya,Bayaa,Ur,Shurta,Kadhimiya,Risala,Tobchi and Abu Dsheer.