Such attacks serve the interests of the coalition "if not prolonging their presence in Iraq, then at least (justifying the) setting up (of) permanent military bases after handing over power to a transitional government," said governmental daily Al-Ahram on Saturday.

Editorialist Salama Ahmad Salama said the coalition forces, which are scheduled to hand over authority to an interim Iraqi body on 30 June, were the only ones to benefit from such attacks. 

"The accusations by American sources against foreign or terrorist infiltrators are strange given that American forces are responsible for controlling the borders and maintaining security inside Iraqi towns," she said. 

The series of bombings in Baghdad and the holy city of Karbala on Tuesday killed more than 170 people and wounded over 550 others. 

US officials blamed the attacks on the al-Qaida network and Jordanian Islamic armed fighter Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, accusing them of trying to ignite a civil war. 

It was the bloodiest day in Iraq since Anglo-US troops ousted
Saddam Hussein's regime in April 2003.