Baghdad - Attacks in Iraq killed 25 people on Thursday as 11 car bombs struck nationwide, the latest in a surge of violence sparking fears Iraq is slipping back into all-out sectarian war.
The bloodshed, in which more than 6 000 people have been killed this year, is part of the worst prolonged stretch of unrest since 2008 and comes just months before a general election, forcing Baghdad to appeal for international help in battling militancy.
Although there have been no claims of responsibility for much of the unrest, which has drawn international condemnation, officials are concerned about a resurgent al-Qaeda emboldened by the civil war raging in neighbouring Syria.
Attacks struck across the country, from the northern hub of Mosul to Kut in the south. They cut down civilians as well as security forces in a wide variety of incidents targeting markets, bus stations, a funeral tent and the convoy of a top police official, security and medical sources said.
From late 2006 onwards, Sunni tribal militias known as the Sahwa turned against their co-religionists in al-Qaeda and sided with the US military, helping to turn the tide of Iraq's insurgency.
Sunni militants view them as traitors and frequently target them.
Violence worsened sharply after security forces stormed a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq on 23 April, sparking clashes in which dozens died.
But diplomats, analysts and rights groups say the government is not doing enough to address the root causes of the unrest, particularly disquiet among Sunnis over alleged mistreatment at the hands of the Shi'ite-led authorities.
Thursday's attacks take to more than 600 the number of people killed this month, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.
On Wednesday, the UN Security Council condemned the recent violence and voiced support for government efforts to tackle the bloodshed.