Iraqi officials say a wave of attacks across the country has killed at least 72 people and wounded more than 235 others in one of the deadliest days this year.
All the attacks, which hit areas across Baghdad, struck between 6:00 am and 8:00 am local time (03:00 and 05:00 GMT), the official added.
The attacks were carried out by roadside bombs and car bombs, including at least one carried out by a suicide bomber.
They attacks hit at least seven different areas of the capital.Attacks also took place in several towns in the provinces of Salaheddin (north), Diyala (center), Babylon (center) and Kirkuk (north), according to Interior Ministry and local security officials.
This is the bloodiest series of attacks since January 14, when a suicide bombing attack against Shiite pilgrims killed at least 41 people near the city of Basra (south). Thursday's series of attacks seemed to focus more on law enforcement targets and civilians, and not a particular community.
Last Sunday a suicide bomber attacked a checkpoint near the police academy in Baghdad, killing 20 people and wounded 21.
Iraq is expected to host on March 29 a summit of the Arab League, the first since the revolutionary wave that rocked the region as the bloodshed continues in Syria. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki hopes that Syria will be involved, although it was suspended from the work of the League.
These attacks come as the political crisis between Sunni and Shiite factions continue to paralyze the country since the departure of U.S. forces.
Last Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said that Iraq has strengthened control over security on the border with Syria .
Al-Maliki told TASS news that the insecurity in the neighboring country helps the penetration of militants into Iraq, as well as the activities of criminals involved in smuggling weapons.
More as it becomes available.