Two bombs in busy Baghdad animal markets have killed at least 64 people.
The blasts, at least one of which was detonated by a female suicide bomber, came within 20 minutes of each other.Friday morning's death toll was the city's highest since violence fell in the wake of a US troop surge in the second half of 2007.
Correspondents say a fragile sense of normality in the capital had followed significant security improvements since the troop surge.A ceasefire announced in August by the Mehdi Army militia of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, as well as the emergence of local Sunni militia armed by the US military that took on al-Qaeda in Iraq, have also contributed to the sense of security.
But that renewed confidence could be shattered by Friday's deadly bombings, the worst to hit the Iraqi capital since three car bombs killed 80 people last 1 August.The blasts came shortly before the call to Friday prayers when many Iraqis were out shopping or meeting friends.
The first device was detonated by a female suicide bomber at around 1020 local time (0720GMT) in the popular Ghazil animal market, killing at least 46 people and injuring a further 80.A popular spectacle for Baghdadis, the animal market only opens on Fridays and regularly draws large crowds, despite having been targeted by bombers twice in 2007.
Piled into wheelbarrows
Just 20 minutes after the first explosion, a second bomb tore through another crowded market in the Jadida area of east Baghdad, killing at least 18 people and injuring 30.
Police and medical officials piled the dead and injured into wheelbarrows, cars and the back of pick-up trucks to be transported to five hospitals across the city.