Residents gather at the site of a car bomb explosion in the Hurriyah neighborhood of the Iraqi capital Baghdad on February 3, 2014. (Photo credit: Ahmada Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)
BAGHDAD (AP) - A new series of car bombings in and around Baghdad on Monday killed at least 13 people, officials said, as Iraq's Shiite-led government grapples with a stubborn Sunni extremist-led insurgency in the western Anbar province.
In the town of Mahmoudiya, a parked car bomb went off near the local council building, followed by another car bomb at an outdoor market nearby, a police officer said. The blasts in the town, located about 20 miles south of Baghdad, killed eight people and wounded 21.
In Baghdad, an explosives-laden car ripped through a commercial area in the northern Hurriyah neighborhood, killing four people and wounding 11, he said.
A bystander was killed and nine were wounded in another car bomb explosion in the city's eastern Baladiyat neighborhood, another police officer said.
Police also found four bodies dumped in the street of the capital's southwestern Amil neighborhood. The four, three men and a woman, had been shot and had no ID cards.
Medical officials confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to media.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks but coordinated bombings bear the hallmarks of al-Qaida's affiliate in Iraq. The group, emboldened by the successes of its fellow militants in the civil war in neighboring Syria and by widespread Sunni anger at the Iraqi government, has taken credit for previous attacks against Shiites, security forces and government buildings.
Meanwhile, in Iraq's western Anbar province, fierce fighting has been raging for over a month between government forces and allied tribal militiamen on one side, and al-Qaida-linked militants on the other. Since late last month, the militants have seized parts of the provincial capital, Ramadi, and the city center of the nearby Fallujah.
Also on Monday, a Defense Ministry statement said military operations overnight in Ramadi killed 57 militants. The statement didn't say whether the militants were killed in clashes or airstrikes.
Violence has escalated in Iraq over the past year. Last year, the country saw the highest death toll since the worst of the country's sectarian bloodletting began to subside in 2007, according to United Nations figures. The U.N. said violence killed 8,868 last year in Iraq.