A series of car bomb attacks have killed at least 21 people and injured 67 others in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, according to police sources.

Saturday's three attacks targeted the city's commercial areas and one restaurant.

A car bomb went off on a street in al-Ameen district in southeast Baghdad and killed four and injured 17, the police source said.

Police confirmed that another explosion went off minutes later near a falafel restaurant in Baghdad's northern Qahirah neighbourhood, killing three and injuring 10.


A third car bomb exploded in the northern Sadr neighbourhood, killing three and injuring 13 others.

Seven more people died and 13 more were injured when a bomb exploded in the city's northern Hurriyah neighbourhood.

And a bomb exploded in the Shulah area of western Baghdad, killing four and injuring 15.

Health officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to reporters.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda breakaway group that frequently uses car bombs and suicide attacks to target public areas in their bid to undermine confidence in the government.

Violence has escalated in Iraq over the past year. Last year, the country saw the highest death toll since the worst of the country's sectarian blood-letting began to subside in 2007, according to UN figures.

The UN said violence killed 8,868 last year in Iraq.

More than 230 people have been killed already this month, according to a tally by the AFP news agency.

Analysts and diplomats have urged the country's Shia-led government to reach out to the Sunni community, who allege they are mistreated by the government and security forces.

But with national parliamentary elections scheduled to take place on April 30, political leaders have been reluctant to compromise.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies