A number of coordinated bombings have targeted cities across Iraq in the run up to the provincial elections.

Over 30 people were killed and hundreds wounded in attacks in Baghdad, the cities of Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk in the north and the southern city of Nasariyah on Monday 15 April. The explosions were reportedly caused by car bombs. 

This was followed by further blasts in Baghdad on Wednesday 16 April, killing at least a further three people.

As the elections approach, tensions between Iraq’s Sunni and Shia populations are worsening with Sunnis feeling sidelined by the current Shia-dominated government.

The US Embassy in Baghdad issued a statement condemning the outbreaks of violence. “Such terrorist acts are a cowardly and unacceptable attempt to undermine Iraq’s democracy and a desperate effort to intimidate Iraqis and deter them from participating in the democratic process,” it stated.