This took the total number of people killed or found dead across the country on Thursday to 36.

 

The attacks took place in markets in Baghdad's Shia neighbourhood.

 

The first was a car bomb in Qahira district which killed seven people, injured 27 and destroyed seven cars.

 

In another attack, nine people were killed and 27 injured when a bomber drove an explosives-rigged vehicle into crowds gathered in a commercial complex in the centre of Baghdad.

 

The deaths came the day after Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, resigned. Many Iraqis cheered his departure blaming him for policy failures and scandals they say spawned the daily sectarian violence that has destroyed their nation more than three years after the US invasion.

 

Hamid al-Mutlaq, a Sunni politician and senior leader of the Sunni Arab National Dialogue Front, hailed Rumsfeld's departure as evidence of the downfall of those who created an "evil project" in Iraq.

 

"Yesterday, the curse of Iraq and the sin of the blood of its innocent people has fallen upon Rumsfeld, the enemy of humanity and the killer of the Iraqis," he said.

 

Wednesday's news of Rumsfeld's resignation came shortly after Iraq's parliament voted to extend the country's state of emergency for 30 more days.

 

Increasing casualties

 

More than 1,200 Iraqis were killed in October. With at least 66 killed on Wednesday alone, the death toll looks likely to exceed that in November. As a result, the United Nations has increased its daily death toll estimate to 100 a day.

 

"Yesterday, the curse of Iraq and the sin of the blood of its innocent people has fallen upon Rumsfeld, the enemy of humanity and the killer of the Iraqis"

Hamid al-Mutlaq,
Sunni politician

Dr Abdul-Razaq al-Obaidi, a director of Baghdad's main mortuary, said that up to 60 bodies were arriving each day. Many have gone unclaimed and are buried in a public cemetery after photographs are taken for later identification.

 

"We can't keep them all this time," al-Obaidi said.

 

Iraqi security forces continue to be a target. Snipers, car bombs and kidnappers have killed 39 policemen and wounded 170 over the seven day period from November 3 to 9, according to Iraqi Brigadier Abdel-Karim Khalaf. At least 21 US soldiers have been killed in November.