It's been one of the bloodiest days in Iraq for months as a series of five bomb attacks across the country has killed at least eighteen people – including several police officers – and injured 53.

Nine people are said to have died here in this busy marketplace in the Shi-ite district of Shula. Witnesses claim a bomber calmly walked away after parking a vegetable delivery truck next to a popular restaurant. Unbeknown shoppers the vehicle was packed with intent to kill; it blew up minutes later taking surrounding stores and parts of buildings with it. Away from this scene, there were four more attacks: on the homes one of the Prime Minister's aides, and those of two policemen in Amariyah, a Sunni area. A police patrol was targeted in Baghdad and in Mosul, a police major was gunned down in a drive-by shooting.

Previous attacks have been carried out by insurgents: their way of trying to rock the Shi-ite led government who, opponents claim, are excluding minority Kurds and Sunni Muslims from major decision-making.

I'm Marverine Cole. For the very latest on the numbers of dead and injured, go to our website:

Written & Presented by Marverine Cole