A few hours after Saddam was executed in Baghdad, a car bomb exploded in a fish market in the predominantly Shia city of Kufa, killing at least 31 people.

 

Monther al-Ithari, the health director in Najaf province, said 58 people were wounded in the attack, most of them women and children shopping for the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday.

 

The man blamed for parking the vehicle in Kufa, 60km south of Baghdad, was cornered and killed by a mob as he walked away from the explosion, police and witnesses said.

 

Triple car bomb

 

After the Kufa bombing, about 10 hours after the execution of Saddam, a triple car bomb ripped through a mixed area of northern Baghdad, killing at least 37.

 

In the co-ordinated attack, three vehicles exploded in rapid succession in the district of Hurriyah, security and military sources said.

 

Car bombs have perpetuated civil strife [AFP]
The other car bomb of the day exploded outside a children's hospital, killing two people and wounding eight.

 

According to a news agency count, 2,139 Iraqis have been killed in war-related or sectarian violence this month, an average rate of about 76 people a day.

 

That compares with at least 2,184 killed last month at an average of about 70 a day, the worst month for Iraqi civilians deaths since May 2005.

 

US toll

 

On Saturday, the US military announced the deaths of six soldiers, which has made December the deadliest month for US troops in Iraq this year, with the toll reaching 108.

 

At least 2,997 members of the US military have been killed since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

 

Iraqis took part in mostly peaceful demonstrations in several towns across Iraq, with hundreds of people marching in the streets carrying Iraqi flags and banners.

Despite curfews, armed men paraded in Tikrit with Saddam's picture and fired their weapons into the air, calling for vengeance.