A wave of deadly car bombings swept across the Iraqi capital Tuesday, targeting restaurants, markets and mosques and leaving at least 50 people dead.
Police say 11 separate bombings hit predominantly Shi'ite neighborhoods in Baghdad in a two-hour span early in the evening. The deadliest attack took place in Baghdad's Talibiyah neighborhood, where authorities say bombs in one or more vehicles killed at least nine people on a busy street.
The latest killings are part of a spike in deadly violence tied by authorities to efforts by al-Qaida-linked Sunni insurgents to stoke sectarian and ethnic tensions.
The United Nations says more than 4,000 people have died in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities since April, when troops from the country's Shi'ite-led government launched a crackdown on a Sunni protest camp north of the capital.
In July, the acting United Nations envoy for Iraq, Gyorgy Busztin, described the country as "bleeding from random violence." He warned the killings could push the country back into full-blown sectarian warfare.