A series of coordinated bombings and a shooting across Iraq on Sunday killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens, a continuation of soaring sectarian violence in the country in recent months. Nearly 2,000 Iraqis have been killed since the beginning of April, including more than 170 this month, a level  not seen since 2008, Associated Press reported.

There has been no claim of responsibility for any of Sunday’s attacks, but they bore the hallmark of al Qaeda in Iraq, which uses car bombs, suicide bombers and coordinated attacks to target security forces and members of Iraq’s Shi'ite majority.

Nasiriyah Iraq bombing Police at the scene of a car bombing in Nasiriyah in southern Iraq Sunday, June 16, 2013. Photo: Reuters

These attacks come 10 years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, the country’s Sunni leader, but a stable compromise among Sunni, Shi'ite, and ethnic Kurdish factions is still elusive. Lately, inflamed by the conflict in Syria, Iraq’s neighbor, where Sunni rebels are fighting to overthrow a leader backed by Shi'ite Iran, Iraq’s sectarian tensions have escalated, Reuters reported.

Sunday’s car bombs hit half a dozen cities and towns in the south and center of the country. The U.S. Embassy has condemned the attacks, saying it stands with Iraqis “who seek to live in peace and who reject cowardly acts of terrorism such as this,” Associated Press reported.

The first blast on Sunday came from a parked car bomb in the industrial area of the city of Kut, killing six and injuring 15 others. Another car bomb outside the city followed, killing five and injuring 12.

In the oil-rich city of Basra in southern Iraq, a car bomb, exploding on a busy downtown street, killed six.

An hour later, car bombs ripped through two neighborhoods in the southern city of Nasiriyah, killing two and wounding 19.

In the Shiite holy city of Najaf, a blast struck a produce market, killing eight and injuring 28.

Blasts were also reported in other communities south of Baghdad, killing seven in total. In the northern city of Tuz Khormato, a roadside bomb killed two policemen.

The shooting that followed broke out near the restive northern city of Mosul, Associated Press reported. Gunmen attacked police guarding a stretch of an oil pipeline, killing four and wounding five. Mosul, northwest of Baghdad, has been the scene of some of the deadliest unrest outside the Baghdad area in recent weeks, according to Associated Press.