Bombs in Baghdad and the northern oil centre of Kirkuk have killed more than 60 people, police said.
The explosions occurred as Prime Minister Nouri Maliki left for a visit to Britain and the US to discuss security and how the conflict between Israel and Lebanon has affected his country, officials said. Earlier, Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition mounted a major crackdown on the country's most feared Shi'ite militia, the Mahdi Army, who are blamed by Sunnis for many of the sectarian kidnap-pings and killings.
The Baghdad bombing occurred when a suicide driver detonated explosives inside a van in the Mahdi Army stronghold of Sadr City at the entrance to the Jameelah market, packed with shoppers and sellers.
An Iraqi army statement said 34 people were killed and 73 were wounded. Eight more people were killed and 20 wounded when a second bomb exploded two hours later at a local government building in Sadr City, the Iraqi army said.
In Kirkuk, a car bomb detonated near a courthouse in the city market district, killing 20 and wounding more than 150, according to a police spokesman. n Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was taken to hospital yesterday on the 17th day of a hunger strike, the chief prosecutor in his trial said.
Jaafar al-Moussawi said he visited the prison where Saddam and the seven other co-defendants are held and was told that the expresident's health "is unstable because of the hunger strike."
"We took him to hospital and he is being currently fed by a tube," al-Moussawi said. He refused to identify the hospital.