Up to 45 people were killed and 113 wounded in separate bombings and shootings across Iraq on Sunday, amid growing tension that threatens to bring the country back to sectarian strife.

In the northern province of Nineveh, gunmen using assault rifles shot dead five soldiers travelling in a minibus on a main road near the town of Shora, south of the provincial capital city of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, a provincial police source anonymously told Xinhua.

Separately, a car bomb went off in the morning near the car of a judge at an intersection of the city of Balad, some 80 km north of Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 21 others, including the judge himself who was in critical condition, said a local police source.

In Diyala province, gunmen shot dead an ex-policeman in the town of Abbara, near the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, a provincial police source said.

Elsewhere, two people were killed and seven wounded in a car bomb explosion near a Shiite religious school in al-Amin district in the eastern part of the capital, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua.

In a separate incident, a roadside bomb ripped through Nahrawan area in southeastern Baghdad, killing two and wounding three, the source said.

Also in the day, a civilian was killed and five were wounded in another roadside bomb blast in Shurta al-Rabia district in the southwestern part of Baghdad, the source added.

More attacks occurred in the evening, with the deadliest one taking place in the volatile Diyala province in eastern the country when a booby-trapped car parked at a popular market detonated in the western suburb of Baquba, killing 13 people and wounding 36 others, Abdullah al-Haiyali, mayor of Baquba city, told Xinhua.

Separately, a civilian was killed and ten others were wounded in a roadside bomb blast near a house in the northeastern part of Baquba, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

In Baghdad, up to ten people were killed and eight wounded in a bomb explosion in Shaab district in northeastern the city, an Interior Ministry source anonymously told Xinhua.

Near Baghdad, four people were killed and 14 wounded in a makeshift bomb explosion near a football field at a village near the town of Madain, just southeast of Baghdad, a local police source said.

Meanwhile, two people were killed and seven wounded when a car bomb ripped through Baghdad's eastern district of Zaiyouna, the police said.

Also in the evening, two people were wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in Baghdad's western district of Ghazaliyah, the source added.

Observers see that the security situation in Iraq began to deteriorate on April 23 after the security forces cracked down on a Sunni Arab protest camp in Iraq's northern city of Hawijah. The crackdown sparked fierce clashes across the country's predominantly Sunni provinces between the Sunni tribes and the security forces.

Overall levels of violence by insurgent groups have since escalated and become audacious, as waves of massive bombings and almost daily attacks left thousands of Iraqis killed and wounded.

Iraq is witnessing its worst eruption of violence in recent years, which raises fears that the country is sliding back to full- blown civil conflict that peaked in 2006 and 2007, when monthly death toll sometimes exceeded 3,000.

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq recently reported that over 1,000 Iraqis were killed and more than 2,300 wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in July, the deadliest month in more than five years.

Source: Xinhuanet