At least 23 people were killed and 87 wounded in attacks across Iraqon Monday (January 1), police said, underlining sectarian and ethnic divisions that threaten to further destabilise the country a year after U.S. troops left.
In the capital Baghdad, in the neighbourhood of Karrada, five people were killed by a parked car bomb targeting pilgrims before a Shi'ite religious rite this week, police and hospital sources said.
Tensions between Shi'ite, Kurdish and Sunni factions in Iraq's power-sharing government have been on the rise this year. Militants strike almost daily and have staged at least one big attack a month.
The latest violence followed more than a week of protests against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki by thousands of people from the minority Sunni community.
No group claimed responsibility for any of Monday's attacks, which targeted government officials, police patrols and members of both the Sunni and Shi'ite communities.
Seven people from the same Sunni family were killed by a bomb planted near their home in the town of Mussayab, south of Baghdad.
In the Shi'ite majority city of Hilla, also in the south, a parked car bomb went off near the convoy of the governor of Babil province, missing him but killing two other people, police said.