The attacks are the latest in a wave of suspected religion-backed violence against alcohol sellers.

There were no reported injuries in the latest string of attacks, but many of the shops were destroyed beyond recognition, shop owners said.

They said at least four shops were bombed overnight between Wednesday and Thursday in an eastern area of the Baghdad, while three others were attacked early Wednesday morning in another eastern district of the city.

"They (the attackers) called me and ordered me to shut down my shop. So I closed my shop and went home and people called me to tell me my shop was attacked"

Manhal Boulos,
alcohol shopkeeper

"They (the attackers) called me and ordered me to shut down my shop. So I closed my shop and went home and people called me to tell me my shop was attacked," Manhal Boulos, a Christian alcohol shopkeeper, said outside his burnt out store.

Workers in the fire-blackened shop swept up broken bottles of whisky and other liquor on Thursday after it was fire bombed.

Increased bombings and threats

Alcohol merchants in Iraq have been killed and threatened by conservative groups, who strongly oppose alcohol sales, since US-led forces invaded the country more than a year ago.

In many cases, groups have pushed flyers under liquor store doors threatening attacks if shop owners don't close down.

Many of the early attacks were carried out in the southern city of Basra, but alcohol stores elsewhere have also been targeted with increasing frequency.

Five shops selling alcohol were bombed in Baquba, northeast of Baghdad on Saturday, while stores have also been hit in Falluja, west of the capital.

Unlike some Muslim countries, alcohol is not illegal in Iraq although it is sold only by non-Muslims.