BAGHDAD: A wave of attacks across Iraq killed at least 53 people on Thursday amid warnings that insurgents would mount deadly attacks ahead of the end of the holy month of Ramzan.
Officials reported more than a dozen explosions and shootings in 15 cities and towns nationwide that also left more than 250 people wounded as Iraqis readied to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr festival.
The latest unrest takes the overall death toll from violence this month to 178.
In the north Baghdad neighbourhood of Husseiniyah, a car bomb killed at least six people and wounded 26, according to an interior ministry official and a medical source.
Later in the evening gunmen with silenced weapons attacked a checkpoint in Massud, north of Baghdad, killing at least six soldiers and wounding seven others, security forces and medical officials said.
Meanwhile in the town of Daquq, north of Baghdad in Kirkuk province, a suicide attacker blew himself up at an anti-terrorism department's compound, according to provincial police Brigadier General Sarhad Qader.
In the province's eponymous capital, meanwhile, at least four car bombs were set off across the city -- including two at the offices of the state-owned North Oil Company.
"I came to investigate one of the attacks near the company compound," said police Colonel Abdullah Kadhim, head of Kirkuk city's sniffer dog unit.
"Suddenly, another bomb went off near me, and it damaged lots of cars and company property inside the parking lot."
Kadhim suffered wounds to his leg.
Provincial health chief Sadiq Omar Rasul put the toll from the attacks in Daquq and Kirkuk city at eight dead and 56 wounded. Qader said the victims included six police killed in the Daquq attack.
The violence in ethnically-mixed Kirkuk city was concentrated in its Kurdish-majority areas, and came on the anniversary of the founding of Iraq's most powerful Kurdish party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
In the same province, two roadside bombs near the home of a police captain in the town of Dibis killed his brother and wounded four others, including the captain himself, police and a doctor at nearby Kirkuk hospital said.
In Kut, 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded on Thursday evening, police Colonel Dhargham al-Assadi said. Five people were killed and 20 others wounded, according to Dhia al-Din Jalil al-Ibboudi, the head of the Kut health directorate.
Attacks also struck Al-Garma, Al-Baaj, Badush, Tuz Khurmatu, Mosul, Taji, Khales and Baquba, leaving seven dead and dozens wounded.
In Al-Garma, near the former insurgent bastion of Fallujah west of Baghdad, four policemen were killed and three others wounded in a shooting at a checkpoint, according to police Major Enes Mahmud and Dr Omar Dalli at Fallujah hospital.
As emergency responders and civilians rushed to the scene, a roadside bomb exploded, wounding four others.
Gunmen shot dead two people driving in Al-Baaj, west of Mosul, while two children were wounded by bombs that targeted the under-construction house of a police officer in Badush, also west of the restive north Iraq city, police Second Lieutenant Abed Ghayib and Dr Mohammed Tawfik said.
Three roadside bombs exploded in Tuz Khurmatu near the home of a district chief, or mukhtar, killing his wife and leaving him and his three sons wounded, according to police and a local medic.
Explosions in Mosul, Taji, Khales and on the outskirts of Baquba left 22 others wounded, security and medical officials said.
A day earlier, 13 people were killed in attacks north of Baghdad. (AFP)