Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has announced a new four-point plan aimed at reducing sectarian violence.
Violence has risen along with Sunni-Shia tensions
The plan to set up local security committees in areas around the country was agreed after intensive talks with top Sunni and Shia politicians.
It came as police said about 50 bodies had been found in Baghdad since Sunday. On Monday, 14 shop workers were abducted in broad daylight in the city.
The US military has said another four soldiers have died in attacks.
Officials said the soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad on Monday. The incident brings the number of American soldiers killed since Sunday to 13.
The BBC's Jim Muir, in Baghdad, says that with the situation on the ground worsening rapidly, the political climate within Iraq's national unity government was also becoming increasingly envenomed.
Mr Maliki called senior Sunni and Shia figures together, despite leaders from each group bitterly criticising the other in recent times.
Shia politicians had accused senior Sunni figures of providing cover for terrorist attacks.
The Sunnis accused Shias in the government apparatus of allowing their own militias to carry out sectarian abductions and murders on a huge scale.
In the latest wave of violence:
- Fourteen employees at a Baghdad computer shop were seized in a midday attack on Monday - the second mass abduction in as many days
- At least seven of 26 people snatched from a meat plant on Sunday were found dead in southern Baghdad, police said
- Overall, Baghdad police said, about 50 corpses had been found in the city since Sunday.
The four-point plan was designed with the aim of reducing violence around Iraq, but especially in Baghdad.
Mr Maliki gave issued a stern warning that the situation was getting out of control, our correspondent says.
Special committees are to be set up in each district with representatives of all the major factions to monitor the drive to halt the carnage.
A similar central committee will co-ordinate with the security forces involved.
One senior Sunni politician, Adnan al-Dulaimi, said the plan had a chance of success, but the consequences of failure would be severe.
"If everyone is honest and keeps to their commitments, it will be positive for the Iraqi people and put an end to sectarianism," he said.
"If not, it will be the end of Iraq."