At least 58 people have died following a string of attacks across Iraq, including a car bomb outside a French consulate.
The most serious incident took place near the city of Amara, some 300 kilometres south of Baghdad, where two car bombs went off outside a Shi’ite shrine and a market place killing at least 16 people and wounding more than 100 others.
More people perished in several other explosions and shootings across the country in cities including Baquba, Basra and Tuz Khurmato.
The device that exploded outside the French consular building in the usually stable city of Nassiriya, killed a police guard and injured four others.
Iraqi security analyst, Ali al-Haidari blamed the rise in violence on poorly equipped Iraqi forces: “There’s a shortage of technical equipment and intelligence data. Preventative measures like checkpoints make matters worse as the terrorists have adopted “hit and run” tactics”, he said.
Iraq’s conflict has eased since its height six years ago when sectarian slaughter killed thousands. But Sunni Islamists and an al Qaeda affiliate still launch about one major attack a month in an effort to reignite tensions between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims following the U.S. military withdrawal last December.