At least 27 Iraqis are dead after a wave of car bombings across the capital of Baghdad on Saturday, in what police and medics describe as the city's deadliest day of aggression since Sunni Muslim insurgents launched an offensive across northern Iraq last month.
The series of five car bombs exploded in predominantly Shiite Muslim neighborhoods, beginning in Abu Dashir, where at least nine people, including four policemen, and 19 were injured when a suicide bomber crashed through a checkpoint in a car laden with explosives, officials said.
The attack was followed in the afternoon by three successive car bombings within a time period of 10 minutes in the neighborhoods of Baiyaa, Jihad and Khazimiyah. At least 15 people died and 42 were wounded, police told the Associated Press.
The fifth bombing took place near a bus stop in the northern district of Khazimiyah, killing three and wounding 15, according to the unnamed police officials.
No groups claimed responsibility immediately following the bombings.
Iraq's capital has seen relatively few attacks since militants, led by the al-Qaeda-affiliated group the Islamic State, overran swathes of Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate straddling Iraq and Syria in recent weeks.
The United Nations confirmed on Friday that over 5,500 civilians have been killed since January in the crossfire of intense fighting between parties divided along religious, ethnic and sectarian lines.
Since insurgents began their campaign across the country's north, circling towards the capital and reaching within 45 miles of Baghdad, Iraqi military forces have pushed back, but are flailing under the pressure of a scattered army on the brink of collapse.
In some areas, Shiite militia, volunteers and ethnic Kurdish forces have stepped up to keep the Islamic State at bay and reclaim cities that have fallen into Sunni insurgent hands.
Saturday's bombings come three months after Iraq's parliamentary elections, and as interim caretaker Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki grapples to regain control of the military and form a working government in spite of hostility from opposing and allied forces.
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