The bloodiest attack took place on Thursday in alMahmudiya, 20km south of the capital, where a man attempted to ram a booby-trapped car into a hospital compound.

  

Thirty people died and 27 were wounded, including four US soldiers, security sources said.

  

"I was leaving the hospital with my one-and-a-half-year-old son in my arms when the explosion happened," Huda Ali, 30, wounded on her face and arms, told AFP.

  

"I was knocked down by the force of the blast and when I came to, my son was no longer in my arms. I found him among the dead."

  

US casualties

 

The US military reported the deaths of two servicemen in a roadside bombing on Thursday southwest of Baghdad, while four American soldiers were killed in a series of incidents on Wednesday.

  

About 27 people were wounded in
Thursday's deadly car bombing

The latest deaths, reported as Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, brought to at least 2110 the number of US military personnel killed since the March 2003 invasion, according to the Pentagon.

  

A second car bomb blew up on Thursday evening in a busy shopping district of Hilla, 120km south of the capital, killing three people and wounding 13, hospital officials said.

  

In other violence, at least 10 Iraqis were shot dead in a series of attacks in Baghdad, including two children, six policemen, one army officer and an adviser to former prime minister Iyad Allawi.

  

In al-Mahmudiya, where the car bomber struck, an army colonel was killed in a separate roadside bomb explosion.

  

Violence may increase

 

Near Baiji, north central Iraq, two Iraqi soldiers were killed and seven wounded by a roadside bomb, while further north, near Hawija, five people were shot and killed, three of them soldiers, when armed men opened fire on an army vehicle.

 

"I was knocked down by the force of the blast and when I came to, my son was no longer in my arms. I found him among the dead"

Huda Ali
one of the survivors

Authorities also found the bodies of two men and two women, strangled or shot dead, in al-Yusufiya, on the southern outskirts of the capital.

  

The latest unrest comes just three weeks before elections for a four-year parliament, the final stage in Iraq's transition to democracy since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in April 2003.

  

Iraqi government spokesman Leith Kubba warned that violence would probably increase in the coming weeks as anti-government fighters sought to disrupt the election campaign.