BAGHDAD — Car bombs tore through shopping areas within minutes of each other in mainly Shi’ite neighborhoods of the Iraqi capital on Sunday, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 130.
The attacks come amid rising sectarian discord in Iraq and appear aimed at shaking Iraqis’ confidence in the Shi’ite-led government. The explosions struck at the start of the local work week and primarily targeted outdoor markets.
Violence in Iraq has fallen since the height of sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007, but insurgents still frequently launch lethal attacks against security forces and civilians. It was the third time this month that attacks have claimed more than 20 lives in a day.
The attacks began with the detonation of a parked car loaded with explosives in the sprawling Shi’ite district of Sadr City on Sunday morning. Two more parked cars later exploded in the neighborhood.
Nima Khadum, a government employee, said the blasts shattered the windows of his Sadr City house. He said the air was heavy with smoke, while burning cars littered the street and the bodies of the dead and wounded lay nearby.
‘‘The scene was a bloody one that brought to my mind the painful memories of the violent past,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t see the benefit of security checkpoints that only cause traffic jams and don’t do anything to secure Baghdad. The government, with its failing security forces, bears full responsibility for the bloodshed today.’’
Simultaneous explosions hit the southeastern Baghdad neighborhood of al-Amin, where the force of the blasts left behind little except the mangled chassis of two cars.
An open-air market in Husseiniya,northeast of the capital, and the Kamaliya area in Baghdad’s eastern suburbs were also hit. Another car bomb exploded near vendors and a police car in the central commercial district of Karradah.
Police and hospital officials provided the death toll. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief reporters.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but similar ones have been orchestrated by Sunni extremists, such as Al Qaeda’s local affiliate. The group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, favors large-scale, coordinated attacks.