BAGHDAD // A barrage of car bomb and suicide bomb blasts rocked Baghdad and two northern Iraqi communities yesterday, killing at least 61 people during the Eid Al Adha holiday period and extending a relentless wave of bloodshed gripping the country.
Authorities reported nine car bomb explosions across Baghdad, including one near a playground that killed two children.
The Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda is believed to be behind much of the killings as part of its campaign to undermine the Shiite-led government.
The bloodshed began early in the morning when a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden car in the Shabak village of Al Mouafaqiyah and killed at least 15, police said.
Another suicide bomber struck hours later, setting off an explosives belt inside a cafe in Tuz Khormato, killing three, said Col Hussein Ali Rasheed, the police chief.
The Baghdad explosions went off in quick succession after sunset.
Back-to-back car bombs exploded about two blocks apart in the mainly Shiite neighbourhood of Husseiniyah, killing 11.
Other mainly Shiite neighbourhoods hit were the south-east New Baghdad, where four died, and the eastern Sadr City, where a car bomb near a playground killed five, including two children. Another car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the north-east Shiite neighbourhood of Gareat, killing seven.
Elsewhere, a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a police checkpoint in the southern district of Dora, killing five. Two parked car bombs exploded near an outdoor market and shops in the mixed Shiite and Christian neighbourhood of Garage Al Amana, killing eight and wounding 15, officials said.
The predominantly Sunni neighbourhood of Shurta also was hit, with three killed when a car bomb exploded in a commercial street
* Associated Press