Eighteen members of one Shiite family were wiped out by militants yesterday as a wave of violence that swept Baghdad and northern Iraq left 33 people dead.
The unrest came a day after a series of bombings targeting Shiites in Baghdad and shootings and bombings elsewhere killed 61 people, further raising fears Iraq is slipping back into all-out sectarian bloodshed.
Authorities, meanwhile, announced the arrest of an alleged senior aide to Izzat al-Duri, the highest-ranking member of executed dictator Saddam Hussein's regime still on the run.
Yesterday's violence struck towns on Baghdad's outskirts and predominantly Sunni cities in the north, with the deadliest attack hitting south of the capital.
Just after midnight, militants bombed adjacent houses belonging to Shiite Muslim brothers in the town of Latifiyah, about 40 kilometres south of Baghdad.
Eighteen people were killed, including five women and six children, and a dozen others were wounded, according to an army officer and a doctor at a nearby hospital.
Separate attacks in Besmaya, Iskandiriyah and Tarmiyah, also on Baghdad's outskirts, killed nine people, including seven soldiers. Bombings in two Sunni-majority cities north of the capital killed six people.