At least 52 people have been killed after seven car bombs ripped through the Iraqi capital Baghdad, sources have told Al Jazeera.

The deadliest blast late on Saturday took place in the Bayaa district. It killed 23 people, many of them young people playing billiards.

Several bombs went off within the following hour, mostly targeting commercial streets in Shia Muslim neighbourhoods, authorities said.

The Reuters news agency gave a higher compiled death toll, quoting security and medical sources saying the wave of bombings left more than 60 people dead.

More than 110 people were wounded.

Mosul fighting

The attacks came as security forces engaged armed groups in the northern city of Mosul. Clashes between government troops and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have killed at least 65 people there over the past two days.

The dead included 21 police and 38 fighters, an officer and mortuary employee said.

Also on Saturday, gunmen stormed the University of Anbar in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, and briefly took students and staff hostage. 

The hostages fled to safety after the armed men left and security forces secured the area.

More than 900 people were killed last month across Iraq, according to figures separately compiled by the United Nations and the government.

Officials blame external factors for the rising bloodshed, particularly the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

But analysts say widespread Sunni Arab anger with the Shia-led government has also been a major factor.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies