The first two roadside blasts on Sunday were in separate areas of Palestine Street, a main thoroughfare in eastern Baghdad.

Police said the first hit a police patrol at 9am, wounding two policemen and four bystanders, and second half an hour later missed a police patrol but hit a bus killing five.

Also at 9:30am, a police patrol hit a roadside bomb in Baghdad's northern district of Adhamiyah killing three policemen and wounding 13 people, including 10 pedestrians and five policemen.

The deadliest attack of the day happened near Baghdad airport, when two cars carrying explosives were detonated at the main civilian entrance to the zone that contains the airport and the US military headquarters. Initial reports said 14 people had been killed.

Police Lieutenant Taheyr Mahmoud said that about the same time, a roadside bomb missed a police patrol in central Baghdad, but wounded seven civilians.

At about 11am, a roadside bomb exploded in a vegetable market in southeastern Baghdad, killing four civilians and wounding 16, police said.

No casualties were reported among the Americans as US forces closed off the area, but the number of deaths overall made Sunday one of the bloodiest days in Iraq for weeks.

Other attacks
 
In the northern city of Mosul, sources said there were clashes between armed groups and Iraqi security forces fighting with US troops on Sunday, killing one policeman and wounding three others.

In the oil rich city of Kirkuk, a bomb just after midnight wounded eight policemen on patrol, four of them seriously. Two police vehicles were destroyed.

 

In Basra, two British soldiers were killed  and another was wounded after a roadside bomb exploded in the southern  Iraqi city of Basra on Saturday.

 

The ministry of defence said on Sunday that the soldiers were from the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment.

 

An Iraqi policeman inspects a
destroyed police car in Kirkuk

The deaths bring to 111 the number of British  troop fatalities in Iraq since the March 2003 US-led invasion of the  country.

  

A third soldier was injured in the incident that occurred during a routine patrol north of Basra, according to the ministry.

  

The soldiers were in an armoured Land Rover vehicle when the  bomb exploded on Saturday at about 11:45pm (1945 GMT).

 

Bombs also wrecked six small Shia Muslim shrines in a rural area about 60km northeast of Baghdad, police said on Sunday, in what appeared to be the latest acts of sectarian violence in Iraq.
       
No one was hurt in Saturday's shrine attacks around the small town of Wajihiya.

Residents expressed anger and concern that fighters were trying to create friction in their mixed Sunni and Shia community, typical of the region.