A post-election wave of attacks across Iraq, including car bombings in Baghdad and a northern city, killed at least 74 people, officials said on Thursday.
The compiled death toll for Wednesday, with the number rising to 74 after late-night attacks, made it the bloodiest single day in Iraq in more than seven months.
It was the latest in a protracted surge in unrest fuelling fears that the country is slipping back into all-out conflict.
The wave of violence could further destabilise Iraq as political leaders jostle to build alliances and form a government following April 30 elections that left Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in the driver’s seat for a third term in power.
In Baghdad’s deadliest attack, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle rigged with explosives in the mainly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiyah in north Baghdad, killing at least 16 people and wounding 52, security and medical officials said, on condition of anonymity.
Three other car bombs blew up in the Amin, Sadr City and Jihad districts, costing 20 more lives.
The blasts were the latest in a trend of militants setting off vehicles rigged with explosives during the evening, when Baghdadis go out to markets, restaurants and cafes.
Previously, such attacks had typically been timed to go off during the morning rush-hour.
Four others were killed in shootings and bombings in and around the capital.
In Mosul, one of the most violent areas of the country, twin car bombs set off by suicide attackers killed 21 people, including 14 soldiers and policemen, in the west of the city.