At least 32 people have been killed in a fresh wave of attacks in Iraq, amid warnings the country is on the brink of civil war.
The Iraqi capital has been hit by a wave of bomb attacks
Twenty-nine people died in three bomb attacks in the capital, Baghdad, including a blast near a checkpoint which killed at least 23 people.
North of the capital, gunmen attacked a police convoy, killing three policemen.
Sectarian slaughter was triggered last week by the destruction of an important Shia shrine in the city of Samarra.
On Tuesday at least 60 people were killed in a surge of bomb attacks a day after the authorities lifted a daytime curfew that had been imposed to stem the killing.
As relatives of those killed arrived at the city mortuary to collect their bodies for burial, there were at least three further explosions across Baghdad.
The bloody attack on a security checkpoint in the eastern Jadida district - a mainly Shia neighbourhood - was a few hundred metres from the scene of one of Tuesday's bombings. At least 23 people died and more than 50 were injured in the car bomb blast.
Within an hour, a car bomb near Baghdad's central bus station killed at least three people. It was apparently timed to hit a police patrol, although the casualties were civilians. A third bomb also exploded in the east of the city, but without causing any casualties.
South of Baghdad, three civilians died when mortar rounds slammed into houses, police said.
Meanwhile, in the north of the country gunmen attacked a police convoy 70km (45 miles) from Tikrit. The group of about 50 policemen was returning from a training session when their minibus convoy was ambushed.
Mr Maples warned of the danger of further violence in Iraq
At least three policemen were killed and seven injured in the attack. The gunmen abducted at least 10 of the policemen in one of the minibuses, reports said.
On Tuesday, a US military intelligence chief warned that further violence could have a "significant impact" on the country.
"We're in a very tenuous situation right now I believe," Lieut Gen Michael Maples told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington.
"I think that more violence, were it to occur, were it to be stimulated by al-Qaeda in Iraq, would have a very significant impact on the situation in Iraq," he said.