At least 11 people were killed and dozens more wounded on Monday when explosions hit cities across Iraq, including multiple attacks in Baghdad and a suicide bomber in a car who targeted a police checkpoint, authorities said.
The attacks, in the capital, and in Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmato and Samarra to the north and Nassiriya to the south, came days before Iraqis vote in provincial elections that are a test of political stability after U.S. troops left the country.
No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, but al Qaeda's local wing, Islamic State of Iraq, and other Sunni Islamist groups are fighting against the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Iraqis vote on Saturday for members of provincial councils in a ballot that will test Maliki's political muscle against Shi'ite and Sunni rivals before parliamentary elections in 2014.
Ten years after the U.S.-led invasion, al Qaeda is regaining ground in Iraq, especially in the western desert areas close to Syria's border. Islamic State of Iraq says it has joined forces with the al-Nusra Front fighting in Syria.