Al Qaeda in Iraq looked to have stepped up its promised Ramadan offensive with more than 30 people killed in attacks on Tuesday.
In Baghdad alone, car and roadside bombs claimed at least 11 lives.
Osama bin Laden’s group had warned it would intensify its campaign during the Muslim holy month, which is now drawing to a close.
High on its hit list are those who have joined the US military in battling local members of the global network.
In Baiji, a police chief and a Sunni Arab tribal leader helping to fight al Qaeda were targeted in twin suicide car blasts. At least one of the men survived. More than 20 other people died.
This came as reports said guards from a private security firm had killed two women in the Iraqi capital.