The string of deadly blasts on Friday killed at least 20 people and wounded 90 in and around Baghdad and al-Madain. The attacks targeted the Iraqi police and army, but also claimed the lives of civilians.

 

The attacks came a day after parliament voted in the new government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari, which left several jobs vacant, including the powerful oil and defence ministries.

 

Thirteen people died and 50 were wounded in four apparently coordinated car bomb attacks in two districts of the capital at about 8am (0400 GMT), the official said.

 

Five more people died and 14 were wounded when three more car bombs exploded in al-Madain, a town 30km south of the capital that was swept only 10 days ago by the Iraqi army in search of fighters.

 

Two of the Baghdad blasts targeted Iraqi police forces and the army in the northern district of al-Adhamiyah. Adding to the chaos, fighters fired several mortar shells into the area at the same time, the interior ministry official said.

 

Two other car bombs targeted police in the eastern district of al-Salikh.

 

Walid Khalid, an Iraqi journalist, told Aljazeera the car bombs in al-Adhamiyah exploded within 10 minutes of one another.

 

He said the first bomb exploded in Antar Square hitting an Iraqi police two-vehicle patrol. Two people were killed in the attack and four injured.

 

Police targeted

 

A second car bomb targeting an Iraqi National Guards patrol near the Qasim Abu al-Qat restaurant, killed two policemen and two national guards.

 

Violence in al-Adhamiyah came a
day after Iraq formed its cabinet

 

Many civilians were wounded in the attack that also caused severe damage to nearby shops and residences.

  

Another car bomb exploded targeting a joint police and Iraqi National Guards patrol in Nadhim al-Tabaqchari Square, killing and injuring people.

 

Khalid said casualties were transferred to al-Numan hospital in al-Adhamiya and the Madinat al-Tib hospital.

 

Colonel Husain Mutlak said the attacks in al-Adhamiyah killed at least 20 Iraqis, including 15 soldiers and five civilians.

 

More bombs

 

Half an hour earlier, a bomb exploded just after a US convoy had driven by in the southern al-Dura district.

 

A 10-year-old girl was wounded when a mortar shell landed on her home in al-Dura at about 8am, the official said.

 

In al-Madain, nine died including four policemen died and three interior ministry commandos, and 35 were wounded, when three more car bombs exploded.

 

The blasts left many mangled
vehicles and scattered debris

An Iraqi soldier was killed and eight injured by two more car bombs in the Zayyuna area northeast of the capital, Aljazeera reported.

 

The first blew up as an army convoy was passing at about 10.30am (0630 GMT). The second exploded an hour later as policemen were about to inspect it.

 

A tenth car bomb blew up near a Shia mosque in the eastern district of Ubaidi, but there were no casualties and only minor damage.

 

US and Iraqi forces arrested seven suspects in connection with the bombings and wounded one more, the US military said.

 

"We see these attacks as another desperate attempt by the terrorists to discredit the newly formed Iraqi government," a statement said.

 

Further incidents

 

Also on Friday, a bomb disposal expert was killed and a civilian injured by an explosion in the Kurdish city of Arbil in northern Iraq, local police chief Fahrad Karim said.

 

Iraqi forces and US soldiers in
al-Madain on 18 April

 

And in the southern town of Basra, one border guard was killed and two injured by a bomb, hospital sources said.

 

The US military, meanwhile, said an American soldier was killed and five others wounded in an explosion early on Thursday in al-Hawija, near Tikrit, in northern Iraq.

 

A US oil tanker was set ablaze when fighters launched a rocket-propelled grenade attack targeting a US military convoy in al-Yusifiya south of Baghdad.

 

The violence highlighted the security challenge facing Iraq's new government.

 

New government

 

The new government, approved by parliament on Thursday, will be sworn in next Tuesday after its remaining vacant posts are filled, Foreign Minister Hushiar Zibari said.

 

Al-Jafari's failure to name several ministers, including those responsible for oil and defence, and his holding off on the appointment of two more deputy premiers, has frustrated the Sunni Arab community.

 

Sunnis, who have so far been given five portfolios in the cabinet, also expect to get defence and a post of deputy premier.

 

Vice-presidential nominee Ghazi al-Yawir, a Sunni tribal leader, warned on Thursday that Sunni ministers might quit if the prime minister fails to give the community better representation.

 

The interim cabinet is to run the country until planned December elections.