Bomb attacks mainly targeting Shiite Muslims in Iraq have killed at least 30 people and wounded scores more. The blasts combined to create Iraq's most deadly day of violence in more than two months.
Two explosions near a restaurant in the city of Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, and a car bomb explosion in the shrine city of Karbala killed at least 30 people on Thursday.
The attacks were the second set of bombings targeting Shiites this week, after three car bombs exploded near their places of worship in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing a dozen and wounding many more.
Shiite Muslims are often targeted by al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate and other Sunni Muslim insurgents.
Nearly 2,000 people have been killed in Iraq so far this year following last December's withdrawal of US troops, who had invaded in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Although violence is far lower than during the sectarian slaughter of 2006-2007, insurgents have carried out at least one big attack a month this year.
Tensions between Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni factions in Iraq's power-sharing government have been on the rise since the US troop withdrawal, which was completed in December 2011.
Security forces were also targeted on Thursday.
A suicide car bomb exploded in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, killing three soldiers and wounding almost a dozen others. A car bomb in Mosul in Iraq's north targeted a police patrol, killing a policeman and a civilian and wounding several others, security and medical sources said.
hc/msh (Reuters, AFP)
Roberto di Matteo's promising start has continued, despite the turgid performance from the Royal Blues. But the mood was already dampened not long after the match got underway.
Two years ago cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour de France wins for taking performance-enhancing drugs. DW spoke to US anti-doping boss Travis Tygart, who was involved in the story from the start.