Baghdad: A wave of attacks, mostly against Sunni areas of Iraq, killed 70 people on Monday in renewed bloodshed that, coupled with widespread political paralysis, has revived fears of all-out sectarian war.
The violence, which left more than 230 people wounded, came after several days of relative calm following symbolic moves by Iraq`s political leaders to ease tensions among the country`s communities after the UN warned violence was ready to "explode".
But no tangible moves have been agreed to address underlying disputes that have fuelled months of protests among Iraq`s Sunni community and, analysts say, given militant groups fuel and room to manoeuvre.
No group has claimed responsibility for the bloodshed, but Sunni militants linked to Al-Qaeda have previously attacked security forces and fellow Sunnis, ostensibly in a bid to provoke retributive violence against Iraq`s Shiite community.
Today`s deadliest violence struck the main northern city of Mosul, with a series of five car bombings mostly targeting security forces leaving at least 29 dead and 80 others wounded, officials said.
"We have received many corpses," said Anwar al-Juburi, a doctor at Mosul General Hospital.
"Most of them were members of the security forces."
Authorities declared a curfew in the city in the aftermath of the violence.
Attacks near Saddam Hussein`s birthplace of Owja, the town of Dour and in Taji-all predominantly Sunni Arab areas-meanwhile left a further 13 people dead.
Ten more people were killed in violence in the northern province of Kirkuk and the nearby towns of Tuz Khurmatu and Suleiman Bek.
The towns, which are mixed between Sunni Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen populations, are seen as a tinderbox because they are part of a swathe of territory claimed by the central government and the autonomous Kurdish region.
Blasts in the mixed town of Madain and a mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Baghdad left five more dead.