Iraq cities hit by wave of deadly explosions

image captionOne bomb in Baghdad targeting Shia pilgrims killed five people

At least 22 people have been killed and tens more injured in a series of explosions across Iraq, officials say.

In the deadliest single attack, seven people were killed in the town of Mussayib, to the south of the capital Baghdad.

At least two people were killed in the southern city of Hilla when a bomb exploded in a busy street.

Violence has decreased in Iraq since its peak in 2006 and 2007, but insurgent attacks remain common.

Five were killed when a car bomb targeted Shia pilgrims in a district of Baghdad.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, the security forces were hit hard by what appears to be a series of co-ordinated attacks.

In one incident, a bomb went off as a police unit dismantled a rocket, killing two policemen and wounding four civilians.

The city has been a source of dispute between the Iraqi government and the Kurdish minority.

In the eastern province of Diyala, at least 10 people were wounded in an attack on a Shia procession.

The latest attacks come in the run-up to the commemoration of Arbaeen, an important date in the religious calendar for Shia Muslims.

Shia pilgrims have been frequent targets for Sunni extremists.

The violence comes as the government faces multiple crises, including a protest movement in western Iraq, and a dispute over oil and territory between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region in the north, the BBC's Rami Ruhayem in Baghdad reports.