Seven dead in Baghdad area attacks

An Iraqi man inspects a damaged bus following an explosion in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad on March 13, 2014.

BAGHDAD - Bombings in and around Baghdad on Friday, including blasts near two markets, killed seven people, the latest in a year-long surge in violence that authorities have failed to quell.

The bloodshed, at its highest level since 2008, came a day after a suicide car bomb went off in the middle of a wedding party convoy in the western town of Rawa, killing 15 people, including women and children.

The unrest, which comes barely six weeks before parliamentary elections, is driven principally by widespread discontent among Iraq's Sunni Arab minority and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

A car bomb Friday at a market in Baghdad's predominantly Shiite neighbourhood of Shuala killed three people, while another blast near a market in Rashid left one dead, security and medical officials said.

Bombings in Taji and Tarmiyah, just north of the capital, killed three others, including two soldiers.

On Thursday evening, a suicide car bomb that went off in the middle of a wedding party convoy killed 15 people and wounded 17 others in the town of Rawa, in the Sunni desert province of Anbar.

Anbar has been roiled in recent months by unrest that has seen anti-government fighters take control of Fallujah, a city on Baghdad's doorstep, as well as shifting areas of provincial capital Ramadi.

Violence in Iraq has reached a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian bloodshed in which tens of thousands of people died.

More than 200 people have been killed so far this month and upwards of 1,900 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.