The attacks come amid a political crisis that has further deepened Iraq's sectarian divide [Reuters]

Two car bombs have exploded in the Sadr City area of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing at least eight people and wounding 21 others in the latest attack targeting Shia areas.

The first attack occurred next to a group of labourers queuing for work at about 6:45am local time (03:45 GMT), while the second bomb exploded outside a bakery half an hour later, an official said on Tuesday.

"We were all standing waiting to earn our living and all of a sudden it was like a black storm and I felt myself thrown on the ground," Ahmed Ali, a 40-year-old labourer who was injured, told Reuters news agency.

"I fainted for a while then I woke up and hurried to one of the cars to take me to the hospital," said Ali, lying on a bed in the emergency room at Imam Ali hospital in Sadr City.

The attacks are the latest in a string of bombings in recent weeks, further deepening the country’s sectarian divide at a time of ongoing political crisis.

Political instability

Nouri al-Maliki's government moved to arrest Tariq al-Hashemi, the country's Sunni vice president, last month on charges that he ran a death squad.

Hashemi has denied the charges and has sought refuge in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, then sought to sideline a Sunni deputy prime minister after he branded him a dictator, prompting a parliamentary boycott by the Sunni-backed Iraqiya political bloc.

A series of bombings in Shia areas of the capital on December 22 killed more than 70 people and wounded 200 others. Scores more were killed in attacks targeting Shia pilgrims this month.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies