Car bombs ripped through busy streets and markets in Iraq on Monday (July 29), killing at least 60 people in predominantly Shi'ite areas in some of the deadliest violence since Sunni insurgents stepped up attacks this year.
The 17 blasts, which appeared to be coordinated, were concentrated on towns and cities in Iraq's mainly Shi'ite south, and districts of the capital where Shi'ites live.
The violence has raised fears of a return to full-blown inter-communal conflict in a country where ethnic Kurds, majority Shi'ites and Sunni Muslims have yet to find a stable way of sharing power.
At least 10 people were killed when two car bombs blew up near a bus station in the city of Kut, 150 km (95 miles) southeast of the capital, police said.
Four people were killed in a blast in the town of Mahmoudiya, about 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, and two bombs in Samawa, further south, killed two.
An assault on Abu Ghraib prison last week raised questions about the ability of Iraq's security services to combat al Qaeda, which has been regrouping and striking with a ferocity not seen in years.
Presented by Adam Justice