Iraq has suffered its deadliest day so far this year with scores of people killed and wounded in a series of apparently coordinated attacks across the country.
The authorities say more than 60 people died in the suicide and car bombings as well as shootings.
The worst was a double blast in a market place that killed around 40 people in Kut, southeast of Baghdad.
The capital was also hit and targets included a mobile phone shop and a convoy of vehicles carrying government officials.
A witness said: “A parked car exploded here at seven o’clock in the morning. I don’t know how they got it into this area as there are so many checkpoints in Mansour.”
The blasts and attacks by gunmen in more than a dozen towns and cities shattered a relative calm in Iraq during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began at the start of August.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but a senior security official blamed al Qaeda-linked groups saying they were trying to undermine confidence in the security forces.
The latest violence does raise questions over the capabilities of Iraq’s forces to handle security after US troops withdraw at the end of the year.
Iraqi and US officials are discussing whether some stay on as trainers for Iraq’s military and police after the December pull-out.