The Health Ministry on Sunday said the worst casualties were in Baghdad, where 37 were killed, and in Tal Afar near the Syrian border where 51 people died.
   
The capital suffered at least seven car bombs, and fighters fired a dozen mortar bombs or rockets around the so-called Green Zone compound housing the US embassy and the Washington-appointed interim government.
   
It was one of the heaviest barrages in Baghdad for months. "We've seen a tremendous increase in the number of attacks," said Brigadier General Erv Lessel, a US military spokesman.
   
Witnesses and officials said 13 people were killed and 61 wounded in fierce battles in central Baghdad.
   
Crowd hit

A US helicopter opened fire on a crowd milling around an abandoned armoured vehicle, killing a television journalist reporting from the scene.

The military said two helicopters were sent in "to prevent looting and harm to the Iraqi people" after four US soldiers were lightly wounded in the attack on the Bradley.
   
Reuters Television images showed Iraqis running for cover shortly before a blast felled Mazin Tumaizi, a producer with Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV. 
 

Helicopter gunship attack cost
journalist Mazin Tumaizi his life

The Palestinian died soon afterwards. Reuters cameraman Saif Fuad, recording the scene, was also wounded in the blast.
   
"I looked at the sky and saw a helicopter at very low altitude," Fuad said. "Just moments later I saw a flash of light from the Apache. Then a strong explosion," he said.
   
"Mazin's blood was on my camera and face," Fuad said from his hospital bed. He said his friend screamed at him for help: "Saif, Saif! I'm going to die. I'm going to die."
   
More attacks
   
US troops mounted a major offensive on Thursday in Tal Afar, a suspected haven for anti-US fighters about 100km from Syria. The military gave no immediate explanation for the heavy death toll there.

In Ramadi, west of Baghdad, US tanks and helicopters fired on a residential district, killing 10 Iraqis, including women and children, a doctor said. The US military had no immediate comment.
   
In other incidents, a car bomb killed a senior police officer, another policeman and a 12-year-old boy on a highway west of Baghdad.

Another bomber tried to drive through the gates of Abu Ghraib prison but US troops shot and killed him, the military said. Three people were wounded.