Iraqi security forces have surrounded a town south of Baghdad where gunmen believed to be Sunni militants have taken at least 60 Shi'ite Muslims hostage.
Authorities say the gunmen have threatened to kill the hostages in Madaen unless Shi'ites leave the town. The town has a mixed population of Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.
The abductions are the latest in a series of violent incidents throughout the country.
A bomb explosion Saturday at a restaurant in Baquba a town north of Baghdad killed up to seven people, including at least two police officers.
Meanwhile, gunmen have killed one policeman and at least one Iraqi soldier in separate incidents in the city of Kirkuk.
And further to the north, in Mosul, a car bomb damaged a U.S. military convoy. Causality reports from that incident are not yet available.Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.