At least 16 people were killed when a power generator exploded in a market in the centre of Iraqi oil hub Basra on Saturday, hospital and security sources said.
"We're investigating the cause. We don't know whether it was a terrorist attack or something else," said Ali al-Maliki, the head of the security committee in the Basra council.
Around 110 people were admitted to hospitals, the hospital source said.
"There were three explosions in this very crowded area," said a lawmaker interviewed by Reuters television at the scene. "There were women and children and poor vendors."
"As a lawmaker from Basra I hold the military and police leadership responsible for the blood that has been shed."
"They are not responding to the people of Basra. We want the police of Basra to be responsible for security in Basra and we have constantly been repeating this request," he said.
"Two of my brothers have been killed," a man shouted at the scene of the blast.
A Reuters correspondent said he heard at least two explosions. Firefighters and ambulances rushed to the scene, a popular market in one of Iraq's largest cities.