Bombings near Baghdad killed at least 10 people Monday in a second day of deadly violence that, coupled with a prolonged political stalemate, has spurred fears of a revival of full-blown sectarian war.
The attacks in Taji and Fallujah struck a day after a string of car bombs and shootings, mostly in the Shiite-majority southern Iraq, killed 33, the latest in a surge in nationwide unrest with violence at its highest levels since 2008.
No group has claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but Sunni militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda frequently carry out bombings in a bid to undermine confidence in the Shiite-led authorities and security forces.
Signup to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
On Monday, two separate explosions struck Taji, which lies just north of Baghdad.
One of the blasts went off inside a restaurant, killing seven, while the other detonated inside a minibus, leaving one person dead, officials said.
And in Fallujah, west of the capital, a suicide bomb outside the gates of the city's police headquarters killed two policemen and wounded 21 others.
There has been a heightened level of unrest since the beginning of the year in Iraq, coinciding with rising discontent among the Sunni Arab minority that erupted into protests in late December.
Analysts say a lack of effort by the Shiite-led authorities to address the underlying causes of the demonstrations has given militant groups fuel and room to manoeuvre to carry out their activities.