At least 21 people have been killed and 45 others injured after a series of bomb blasts ripped across the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, security and medical officials said.
The multiple blasts on Sunday struck both Sunni and Shia neighbourhoods across the city, spanning an area as wide as the slum neighbourhood of Sadr City in northeast Baghdad to the western suburb of Radhwaniyah.
Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said up to five blasts took place across the city.
Our correspondent said the attacks had the hallmarks of an ongoing ambition to keep the secetarian pot boiling.
“A senior military official said that Baghdad now faces an open war.”
Authorities have closed off the streets and were investigating the incidents.
The blasts all went off after 6:00 pm, marking the latest in a months-long trend of attacks timed to go off in the evening as Iraqis mass at cafes, restaurants and other public meeting places.
In previous months and years, attacks had typically been timed to coincide with morning rush hour.
The bloodshed across the city is the latest in a protracted surge in violence that has forced Iraq to appeal for international help in combatting militancy just months before its first general election in four years.
Violence has escalated in Iraq in recent months, with the pace of killing reaching levels unseen since 2008.
Sunday’s attacks bring the death toll across the country this month to 67, according to an Associated Press count.
More than 5,500 people have been killed since April, according to United Nations figures.