Five car bombs exploded Monday in cities in central and southern Iraq, killing 36 civilians and wounding dozens, officials said.
The attacks come amid a week-long spike in violence following clashes at a protest camp in the north of the country that left more than 200 people
A police officer says two parked car bombs went off simultaneously Monday morning in the city of Amarah near a gathering of constructor workers and a market, killing 18 civilians and wounding 42 others. Amarah is located 320 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.
Another police officer said a parked car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the city of Diwaniyah, killing nine civilians and wounding 23 others. The city is located 130 kilometers south of Baghdad.
Hours later, another parked car bomb went off in the city of Karbala, killing three civilians and wounding 14 others, police said. The city is about 90 kilometers south of Baghdad.
A parked car bomb ripped through the town of Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers south of Baghdad, killing six and wounding 16, another police said.
Four medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
The attacks come after five days of bloody clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters that started Tuesday and killed at least 215 people.
Early in 2011, when uprisings broke out across the Arab world, Iraqis started protesting too. Over several days through January and February last year, people demonstrated in numerous governorates over multiple issues, including corruption, insecurity, poor services, unemployment, and political rights.
In the Anbar governorate of western Iraq – a predominately Sunni area – lengthy sit-ins were held early this year by citizens who feel marginalized by the central government in Baghdad.