Simultaneous early morning attacks on mostly Shia targets across Iraq killed at least 60 people and wounded dozens on Thursday.
The attacks that appeared to pitch al-Qaeda-linked Sunni Muslim insurgents against Shias raised fears of a return to sectarian carnage that tore Iraq apart in 2006 and 2007.
The violence breaks weeks of relative calm as Shia Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Sunni leaders have sought to resolve a political crisis that threatened to unravel their power-sharing agreement.
At least 32 people were killed in blasts in Baghdad where 10 explosions tore through mainly Shia neighbourhoods during rush hour and other attacks targeted police patrols,commuters and shopping areas.
The interior ministry blamed al-Qaeda and affiliated armed groups for the attacks it said were an attempt to show that Iraqs security situation remained unstable. More than a dozen blasts and attacks hit other cities across Iraq from Mosul in the north to Hilla,south of Baghdad.
One car bomb in the capital killed at least nine people and wounded 27 in the upmarket Karrada neighbourhood. In at least three Shia neighbourhoods in Baghdad,nine policemen were killed,and in the capitals northwestern Kadhimiya district,a car bomb killed six people when it struck a street lined with restaurants.
In the biggest attack outside the capital,a car bomb killed seven people and wounded 33 in the town of Balad,north of Baghdad.