A car bomb exploded near a market in eastern Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 17 people and wounding 65, police said. The explosion of the parked car also set fire to nearby shops, an apartment and about 15 vehicles parked in the New Baghdad area of the capital, where a telecommunications centre also is located, according to the police.
In the northern city of Kirkuk, meanwhile, two car bombs exploded, one targeting a police station, and at least two people were killed and four wounded, police said. One blast occurred in a residential area of central Kirkuk, killing two people and wounding two, said a local police officer.
Police first thought the car bomb was targeting a nearby Shiite mosque, but later concluded that it was aimed at an even closer police station, he said. Neither building was damaged, but some homes and apartments in the area were, as well as three parked cars, the police said.
Earlier in the day, explosives experts were called to the northeastern entrance of the city after residents spotted a roadside bomb, said local police. As the experts dismantled it, a car bomb parked nearby exploded, wounding two of them and destroying a nearby police car and a vehicle owned by a local resident, police said.
Kirkuk is a city of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds that is located 290 kilometres (180 miles) north of Baghdad. Thursday's attacks followed a series of suicide bombings on Wednesday that killed at least 69 people, in a wave of explosions and gunfire across Iraq on Wednesday - pushing the death toll from insurgent violence to more than 400 in less than two weeks.
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces on Wednesday conducted a series of raids on suspected hideouts in the Ghazalia neighbourhood of western Baghdad. Six suspects were apprehended and a large number of weapons and ammunition were seized during the operation. And on the outskirts of Beiji, 240 kilometres (149 miles) north of Baghdad, unknown assailants blew up an oil pipeline late on Wednesday, using an improvised explosive device (ied).
Meanwhile, in Baghdad, a convoy of three trucks loaded with humanitarian aid headed to the qaim area on thursday. US troops are fighting a large offensive against suspected insurgents in western iraq, close to the border with Syria. Qaim, where the offensive began, was calm on Wednesday and a few shops opened, according to residents reached by telephone.
Few people ventured into the streets, apart from families who piled their belongings into cars and fled to safety. The aid that left baghdad on thursday was provided by the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, which claimed to be the only relief agency operating in the area.