Five car bombs exploded Monday in public areas in predominantly Shiite cities and districts in central and southern Iraq, killing 26 civilians and wounding dozens, officials said.
The blasts come amid a week-long spike in sectarian violence following clashes at a Sunni protest camp in the north of the country. No one has claimed responsibility, but coordinated bombings in civilian areas are a favorite strategy used by al-Qaida in Iraq.
Two parked car bombs went off simultaneously Monday morning in the city of Amarah near a gathering of construction workers and a market, killing 13 civilians and wounding 42, according to police.
Another police officer said a parked car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the city of Diwaniyah, killing eight civilians and wounding 25 others.