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Monday, April 29, 2013 - 4:30am
(CNN) — At least 13 people were killed and more than 40 others were wounded Monday when three car bombs exploded in two Shiite provinces, Iraqi officials said.
In Amara, located in Maysan province about 350 kilometers (217 miles) south of Baghdad, two car bombs exploded near a busy outdoor market, killing seven people and wounding 20 others.
In Diwaniya, about 200 kilometers south of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded near another outdoor market, killing six people and wounding 24 others.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, nor was it clear whether they were related.
But Iraq has seen an uptick in violence in recent months.
It has prompted fears among Iraqi leaders and international powers that the tensions between Sunnis and Shiites could escalate and bring a return of the full-blown sectarian war that raged last decade.
"The country is at a crossroads," Martin Kobler, U.N. special representative in Iraq, said last week.