Baghdad: A wave of attacks, most of them car bombs targeting Shiite neighbourhoods of Baghdad, killed 33 people on Wednesday in the latest bout of deadly violence to hit Iraq.
The bombings and shootings, which left more than 70 people wounded in all, come amid a protracted surge in bloodletting just months ahead of general elections that has forced Iraqi officials to appeal for international help in combatting the country`s worst unrest since 2008.
At least eight explosions, including seven car bombs, went off mostly against Shiite Muslim neighbourhoods of the Iraqi capital from about 0430 GMT onwards, leaving 28 people dead and more than 70 wounded, security and medical officials said.
They come after similarly coordinated bombings in Baghdad on Sunday evening left 21 dead, and pushed the overall death toll for November above 300.
Today`s attacks occurred in areas ranging from the city`s main commercial district of Karrada to the predominantly Shiite neighbourhood of Shaab, as well as Sadriyah, one of Baghdad`s oldest districts. One car bomb also went off in the Sunni-majority neighbourhood of Adhamiyah in north Baghdad, officials said.
The blast in Karrada struck near a car dealership as Shiites were gathering to mark the anniversary of the death of a venerated figure in Shiite Islam, when Sunni militants often step up their attacks.
Security forces imposed tough measures in areas hit by attacks, in many cases barring journalists from filming video or taking photographs at bomb sites.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the violence, but Sunni militants linked to al-Qaeda`s front group often set off coordinated bombings across Baghdad, typically targeting Shiites, whom they regard as apostates.
In a separate attack in the normally-peaceful northern Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, gunmen assassinated Iraqi President Jalal Talabani`s chief bodyguard, according to a police spokesman. The trio of attackers entered Colonel Sarwat Rashid`s home and shot him three times in the head in front of his wife, the spokesman said.
Multiple shootings in Baghdad and the main northern city of Mosul, along with a bombing in Abu Ghraib, left four others dead, while authorities near the restive city of Baquba found the bodies of three men who suffered gunshot wounds to the head and chest.