Iraq bombings kill 40
The attacks, the worst since 76 people were killed on September 9, included the second series of bombings against Shiites this week, after three car bombs exploded near their places of worship in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing a dozen and wounding scores more.
The Thursday violence brings the number of people killed in attacks this month to at least 147 -- 11 more than in October, reversing a three-month trend of declining death tolls, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical sources.
Two roadside bombs targeting a group of Shiite pilgrims in the city of Hilla killed 28 people and wounded 85 on Thursday, police and medical sources said.
Iraqi security forces cordoned off the area of the blasts and set up checkpoints in the city to search cars, an AFP correspondent said, adding that shops near the site were shuttered after the attacks.
Ali al-Khafaji, the owner of a mobile phone shop in the area of the blasts, said that there was a big explosion near a restaurant where a tent serving food to Shiite pilgrims was set up, followed by another blast when emergency personnel arrived at the scene.
In the shrine city of Karbala, a car bomb exploded under a bridge, killing five people and wounding 13, a police spokesman and a medical official said.
The spokesman said that security forces closed off all roads leading to the old city, where Imam Hussein, one of the most revered figures in Shiite Islam, is buried, and were searching for a second car bomb.
Security forces were also targeted on Thursday.
A suicide car bomb against an army patrol in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, killed three soldiers and wounded three others and four civilians, while a car bomb in Mosul in Iraq's north targeted a police patrol, killing a policeman and a civilian and wounding two more police, security and medical sources said.
A car bomb on the main road south of Baghdad killed one person and wounded 11, including three police, while two roadside bombs near a military base north of the city killed one person and wounded six others, an interior ministry official and medical sources said.
Members of Iraq's security forces and the country's Shiite majority are both frequently targeted by Sunni insurgents in bomb attacks.