20 Mar 2012

Series of fatal bomb explosions rocks Iraq

9:30 pm on 20 March 2012

At least 39 people have been killed in a series of explosions in Iraq, officials say, and nearly 200 more injured.

Two car bombs in the predominantly Shia city of Karbala are reported to have killed at least 13 people.

Another car bomb near police headquarters in the northern city of Kirkuk killed seven people, according to hospital sources.

The attacks come ahead of next week's Arab League summit to be held in the capital, Baghdad, for which security forces have been placed on high alert.

The attacks also coincide with the ninth anniversary of the beginning of the United States-led invasion of Iraq.

The summit is seen as Iraq's debut on the regional stage following the withdrawal of US troops in December.

There are also reports of a car bomb blast in Baghdad which is said to have killed at least two people, and attacks in Hilla and Latifiya in the south of the country.