At least 60 people have been killed and over 200 wounded in Iraq after a coordinated wave of 17 car bombings targeting the country's Shi'ite Muslim communities.
Eleven of the seventeen attacks occurred in Baghdad, in the city's southern districts, where the majority of the city's Shi'ite residents live.
Other attacks occurred in cities such as Basra and Kut in the south of the country, the region with the country's highest density of Shi'ite Muslims.
One attack, in the Baghdad district of Sadr City, saw a van pull up alongside a queue of day labourers. According to witnesses, the driver of the van instructed the workers to take their seats in the vehicle on the pretence of offering work, and instructed them to wait, before disappearing.
Moments later an explosive device in the van was detonated, killing all the passengers and a number of bystanders.
Iraq has already witnessed over four thousand deaths since the beginning of the year, a figure that has already doubled the number of killings in 2012.
Over 800 people have been killed so far during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Attacks by Sunni militant groups on their Shi'ite counterparts are currently at their highest since 2006, when sectarian violence cost thousands of people their lives.
Many blame the rise in religious violence on the influence of the ongoing civil war in neighbouring Syria, which has polarised the country's sectarian population.
This month's sharp increase in violence has raised questions over the Iraqi government's ability to handle insurgency, particularly given last week's attack on Abu Ghraib prison, led by al-Qaeda.
This year is the first since 2006 that has seen an increase in killings on the previous year in Iraq, according to Iraq Body Count, a non-governmental organisation that claims that 120,000 Iraqi civilians have lost their lives due to the violence since the 2003 invasion.
Sunni insurgent groups such as al-Qaeda have begun recruiting from Iraq's sectarian minority, using the resentment towards the country's Shi'ite-dominated government, installed since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.