At least 20 people were killed Monday when three car bombs exploded in predominately Shiite cities in southern Iraq, medical personnel and eyewitnesses said dpa reported.
One car bomb went off in a market, while the other exploded near a gathering for workers in the city of Amara, 400 kilometres south-east of Baghdad. The blast killed 16 people and injured 25.
In the city of Diwaniyah, 150 kilometres south of Baghdad, a car bomb went off near a restaurant, killing four people and wounding 11 others.
The booby trapped car in Diwaniyah was parked in the city centre, and caused damage to the buildings nearby.
Iraqi local media said security forces have cordoned off the scene and closed a number of streets leading to it.
Violence has increased in Iraq in recent months, raising fears of a return to the sectarian violence that drove the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.