Death toll rises to 56 in Iraq bombings
At least 56 people died in bombings in seven Iraqi cities on Tuesday, on the ninth anniversary of the United States-led invasion. Nearly 150 people were wounded, dpa reported.
The coordinated bombings came ahead of an Arab League summit scheduled for March 29 - the first to be held in Iraq in more than 20 years.
In May, the Arab League postponed a Baghdad conference because of turmoil in several Arab countries.
In an apparent bid to encourage Arab leaders to attend this year's meeting, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government has spent about 450 million dollars on preparations, including security and infrastructure, according to media reports.
At least 18 people were killed in three car bomb blasts in the northern city of Kirkuk, 250 kilometres north of the capital Baghdad. Security sources told dpa that 33 people were wounded in the attack near a police headquarters.
In Mosul city, 400 kilometres north of Baghdad, nine people - including police and army personnel - died.
Two explosives targeted security patrols in Mosul, where 32 people were arrested. Some of them were allegedly planting a roadside bomb in the southern part of the city.
In the western city of Ramadi, Qassim al-Fahdawi, the governor of Anbar province, escaped a car bomb explosion near his convoy. But the blast killed three people and wounded 27.
Five people died in the central city of Tikrit in car bombings, security sources said.
In central Baghdad, a car bomb in a commercial area killed at least five people and wounded eight, according to media reports.
In Karbala city, 100 kilometres south of Baghdad, 13 people were killed in two car bombings, and security sources said 45 people were wounded.
Three people died in the southern cities of Hilla and Kut, while 33 were wounded.