Bomb attacks killed 36 Iraqis yesterday as a suicide bomber blew up a truck packed with explosives in a northern Shiite village and a booby trap killed nine people in a Baghdad minibus line.
The truck bomber detonated his deadly charge in Al-Quba, killing at least 28 people and wounding another 50, eight of them seriously, said provincial police spokesman Brigadier General Abdulkarim Khalaf al-Juburi.
The reported death toll climbed rapidly through the morning as the village is 20km north of the much larger town of Tal Afar and the nearest emergency services.
As thousands of US and Iraqi security forces focus on pushing insurgents out of Baghdad and other flashpoint cities under a five-month-old security plan, militants have increasingly resorted to attacks in villages and rural areas.
In the capital, a roadside bomb killed nine Iraqis, ripping through an unofficial stop for one of the battered minibuses used by thousands of people in the city, security and medical officials said.
The device, hidden on the side of the road, blew up after a minibus stopped to collect waiting passengers in the Diyala Bridge neighborhood in the southern suburbs, security officials said.
Shrapnel sprayed the area as Iraqis got on and off the minibus shortly before the main rush hour, and as others stood waiting for a different line.
The Al-Zafaraniyah hospital said nine people were killed, including a woman, and eight wounded were brought in with mainly burns injuries.
Yesterday's violence came as Iranian and US officials held security talks in Baghdad in a bid to ease the violent insurgency in war-torn Iraq that has put the two arch-foes at loggerheads.
A US official said on condition of anonymity that the meeting began at the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses the government and US embassy.
"It's at experts' level, people who are experts in the security field," said another US embassy official. "As far as I know, only security will be discussed."
In Tehran, the ISNA news agency quoted Iran's ambassador in Baghdad, Hossein Kazemi Qomi, as saying that Iran-US talks would begin yesterday.
Kazemi Qomi had told ISNA that talks with the Americans this week would discuss the makeup and responsibilities of a tripartite security committee.
On July 24 the delegations of Iran and the US, led by Kazemi Qomi and US ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker respectively, were unable to agree during a landmark second meeting on ways to restore security to Iraq.
But the arch-foes did agree to create a tripartite security committee aimed at curbing militia activity, battling al-Qaeda and securing borders, albeit without reference to the Shiite militias Iran stands accused of arming.
The US military in Iraq regularly accuses groups linked to Iran of training extremists in the war-ravaged country and supplying them with explosives capable of penetrating US armored vehicles.
Iran denies supporting insurgent groups in Iraq.
US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack confirmed on July 25 that Washington was examining the idea of establishing a subcommittee "which would actually be lower level, technically oriented officials."