At least 36 people were killed across Iraq in bombings, shootings and gunbattles on Tuesday, including 10 Shiites gunned down in an apparent sectarian attack in Baghdad.
The raging violence has raised renewed fears that the country is sliding towards civil war, prompting Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to issue an urgent appeal for unity.
In Tuesday's deadliest attack, 10 Shiites carrying a coffin in a minibus were ambushed and shot dead by gunmen on a highway near Baghdad's notorious Sunni neighbourhood of Dura, a defence ministry official said.
The passengers were heading to the Shiite holy city of Najaf to bury the corpse when they were "ambushed by gunmen on the highway, taken out and shot dead," the official said.
The attack came less than two hours after a curfew imposed on Dura the day before ended.
The curfew was imposed after Dura residents reported hearing gunfire and said large numbers of armed men were out on the streets. The neighbourhood has been the scene of repeated fighting and attacks on security forces.