At least 62 people were killed around Iraq on Tuesday, 21 of them in a suicide attack on people waiting for their butane gas ration cards in the northern city of Tall Afar.
A suicide bomber, wearing an explosive belt, approached a crowd waiting for the ration cards in downtown Tall Afar, and exploded himself, a police official said. Two policemen were among the dead and 17 were wounded.
The day's other big attack came in Ramadi, where a bomber struck at around 1630 IST in the Al-Hurriyah police station in the southwest of the Sunni Arab insurgent stronghold, killing 13 people, a police officer said.
In other attacks, 28 people were killed, including four members of a Shiite family shot dead by gunmen as they attempted to flee their homes north of Baghdad.
The violence came even as the Iraqi government gave an optimistic assessment of the impact of a massive security operation in Baghdad and the return of displaced families to newly-pacified neighbourhoods.
"We have statistics from the army unit in Ghazaliyah that some families have come back to their neighbourhoods," said Iraqi military spokesman Brigadier Qassem al-Mussawi, referring to a largely Sunni Arab neighbourhood of the capital.
Tens of thousands of Iraqi and US security personnel have deployed on the streets of Baghdad since June in a bid to stem tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the ousted Sunni Arab elite and the newly empowered Shiite majority that has been daily costing dozens of lives.
In the past week, however, the violence has spiked with dozens of bodies turning up everyday, including 14 in the heart of the capital alone on Tuesday.