A wave of attacks, including a suicide bombing at a funeral, left more than 50 people dead in one of the most violent days in Iraq in recent weeks.
Blasts rocked Baghdad and the Shia city of Karbala. Elsewhere, gunmen ambushed a fuel convoy heading out of the capital, damaging oil export capacity.
But most casualties came at a cemetery in Muqdadiyah, 60 miles north of Baghdad, where mourners had gathered for the burial of the nephew of local Shia politician, Ahmed al-Bakka, of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's Dawa Party.
About 36 people were killed and more than 40 were wounded when mortar rounds were followed by the bomber blowing himself up. One of the mourners, Haidar Mohammed Abdullah, 36, described "people screaming and trying to take shelter as the rockets started to fall. Then there was a pause and, when people began to gather, the man blew up his suicide vest".
Colleagues of Mr al-Bakka blamed Sunni insurgents. Ali al-Adib, a senior Dawa official, said: "We expect attacks to increase before the formation of the government."
Meanwhile, a convoy of 60 fuel tankers were ambushed by insurgents using machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades, 25 miles from Baghdad. Three tankers were incinerated and 15 others badly damaged. Three Iraqi army vehicles were also destroyed.
* President George Bush said yesterday it might be possible to discuss with Iraqi leaders pulling out some US troops this year.Reuse content