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Iraq car bombs kill 64

A series of car bombs across the country have killed 64 and wounded several people.

FILE:Iraqis look at the remains of a car bomb that detonated in the Kamaliya area of eastern Baghdad on 20 May, 2013. Picture: AFP

BAGHDAD -A series of car bombs in mainly Shiite areas of Baghdad killed 50 people and wounded 140 on Saturday, in what appeared to be coordinated attacks on people celebrating the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Ten separate blasts targeting markets, busy shopping streets and parks where families like to mark Eid, were part of a surge in sectarian violence in Iraq since the start of the year.

This has been one of the deadliest Ramadan months in years, with regular bomb attacks killing scores of people, especially in the capital.

The latest bombings were similar to attacks in Baghdad on Tuesday in which 50 died.

More than 1,000 Iraqis were killed in July, the highest monthly death toll since 2008, according to the United Nations.

The Interior Ministry has said the country faced an "open war" fuelled by Iraq's sectarian divisions.

Sunni Islamist militants have been regaining momentum in their insurgency against the Shiite-led government, and have been emboldened by the civil war in neighbouring Syria, which has ignited sectarian tensions across the Middle East.

On Saturday, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan said his region was prepared to defend Kurds living in neighbouring Syria, in what appears to be the first warning of a possible intervention and a further sign that the conflict is spilling over Syria's borders.

Outside Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a car on a busy street in the town of Tuz Khurmato, killing at least 10 people and wounding 45.

Tuz Khurmato is located in a particularly violent region over which both the central government and autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan claim jurisdiction.

Police believe the bomber was trying to reach the local headquarters of a Kurdish political party, but was unable to reach the building because of increased security in the area.

In the town of Nassiriya, twin car bombs near a park killed four people and wounded eight.

Tensions between Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni factions in Iraq's power-sharing government have been rising, and the renewed violence has sparked fears of a return to the sectarian slaughter between 2006 and 2007.