Eight people have been killed and 45 others injured in a series of blasts in central Iraq, officials said today.
Local politicain Mohammed al-Moussawi said two cars exploded at a vegetable market in the Shiite city of Karbala early this morning, killing five people and wounding 30.
Karbala is 55 miles (90km) south of the capital, Baghdad, and is preparing for the arrival this weekend of thousands of Shiite pilgrims.
Hours later, two bombs exploded in the Sunni city of Taji, killing three people and injuring 15. A policeman was among the dead, said security and health officials.
Taji is home to a military base and is 12 miles (20km) north of Baghdad.