A series of bombings across Iraq on Monday killed 12 people, including three policemen, and wounded more than 40, officials said.
The violence struck the northern ethnically mixed provinces of Kirkuk and Diyala and south of Baghdad in Babil province, and targeted government
officials, security forces and Shiite Muslims in the lead-up to major commemoration ceremonies.
In the deadliest attack, seven people – three women, two children and two men – were killed when three houses were blown up in the town of Mussayib south of Baghdad, a local police officer and a medic said. Four others were wounded.
The victims were apparently targeted because they were Shiite Muslims, the officials said.
No group has yet admitted responsibility for staging Monday's attacks.
However, Sunni militants regularly target Shiite pilgrims ahead of major rituals, with the Arbaeen commemoration ceremonies due in the coming days, as well as officials and security forces in a bid to destabilise the government.
In the northern city of Kirkuk, three policemen were killed and four critically wounded by a roadside bomb, while two people were killed by a car bomb outside government offices in Hilla, south of Baghdad, as the provincial governor was arriving for work.