Three suicide car bombs exploded within minutes of each other in a mainly Shi'ite town north of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 60 people and injuring scores, police and hospital officials said.
The explosions took place in Khalis, 80 km north of Baghdad.
One car bomb exploded in a commercial area and a second at a major police checkpoint leading to the police headquarters and court building, police said. A third bomber attacked police patrols rushing to the scene, Reuters reported. One policeman said up to 48 people had been killed in the blasts. A second police source said more than 50 had been killed and more than 100 wounded. A local hospital official said they had received 40 bodies.
Earlier, new U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker told his swearing-in ceremony that "terrorists, insurgents and militias continue to threaten security in Baghdad and around the country" and called Iraq America's "most critical foreign policy challenge".