A wave of more than 20 attacks left dozens of people dead across Iraq as the country's fugitive vice-president was sentenced to hang for running death squads.
The most recent attacks this morning were in Baghdad, where car bombs ripped through six mainly Shiite neighbourhoods.
"I heard women screaming, I saw people running in all directions, chairs scattered in the street. My windows were blown out, my mother and two kids were injured too," Alla Majid, still shaking after a blast in Baghdad's Sadr City, said.
But those blasts came hard on the heels of a wave of coordinated attacks which saw terrorists hit targets including security forces and crowded marketplaces in at least 11 cities across the nation.
Estimates of the death toll ranged from 65 to more than 100.
The attacks also left around 350 people injured, according to figures released by security and medical sources.
The deadliest single incident was near the shrine of Imam Ali al-Sharqi in southern Iraq, where the local hospital said at least 16 people had died and 60 more were injured by two car bombs.
With its main hospital overflowing with the injured, mosques in the nearby city of Amara used prayer loudspeakers to call for blood donations.
Among the other attacks:
- Insurgents killed at least 11 soldiers when they stormed a remote army post near Dujail, north of Baghdad
- Three people died when a car bomb exploded in a market in the southern port city of Basra
- Seven people died in the volatile oil-rich northern province of Kirkuk when a bomb exploded beside a line of police recruits applying for jobs with a state-run oil company
- A car bomb exploded outside a French consular office in Nasiriyah in southern Iraq.
- There were also attacks in Fallujah; Tel Afar; and south of Samarra
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Sunni insurgents have launched numerous attacks this year aimed at destabilising the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.
Death sentence in absentia
The latest attacks came as the country's vice-president Tareq al-Hashemi, a leading Sunni, was sentenced in absentia to hang for murder, although the carnage began hours before the sentence was handed down.
Hashemi was found guilty of organising the murders of a Shiite security official and a lawyer who had refused to help his allies in terrorism trials.
He was one of the most senior Sunni Muslims in power until he was charged in December last year, just after United States troops left Iraq.
The Shiite-dominated government accused Hashemi, who has fled to Turkey, of involvement in 150 attacks between 2005 and 2011.
His lawyers told the court that the decision was a result of political pressure.
The court also tried his secretary and son-in-law Ahmed Qahtan in absentia and sentenced him to death.
The trial for the murder of a woman lawyer, a brigadier general and a top security official that opened in May covered the first of some 150 charges against Hashemi, who has been accused of running a death squad, and his bodyguards.
The hearing opened with the prosecution asking the court to condemn Hashemi, one of Iraq's most senior Sunni officials, to death for the first two murders but to drop a charge of involvement in the security official's killing.
In a case which has raised political tensions, the defence lawyers then read a lengthy closing statement protesting that the trial was unfair and the court exposed to political pressure.
A judge interrupted, warning the defence lawyer: "You are attacking the judicial authority and you will be held responsible if you continue."
The sentence was issued after about 30 minutes of deliberation by the three judges.