Iraq Sunnis
Iraqi Sunni Muslims wave an Iraqi national flag during an anti-government demonstration at Abu Hanifa Sunni mosque in Baghdad's Adhamiya district on Jan. 25, 2013 REUTERS

A series of car bomb explosions targeting the Shia Muslims in and near Iraq’s capital city of Baghdad killed at least 26 people Friday, authorities said.

In the Shia district of Kadhimiya in Baghdad, 13 people were killed in twin car bomb blasts inside a bird market, Reuters reported citing police.

Twin car bomb explosions at a vegetable market in the Shia-dominated city of Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, killed 13 others, the report said.

No group had claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Friday’s blast was the latest in a series of explosions amid growing hostility among Iraq’s Sunni, Shiite and ethnic Kurdish factions.

On Feb. 4, a suicide bomber launched an attack on a group of anti-Al-Qaeda fighters outside the militia's headquarters in the town of Taji, about 20 kms (12 miles) north of Baghdad. The explosion killed at least 22 people and wounded 44 others. The attack closely followed a suicide bombing the previous day that killed at least 16 people near a police headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

Violence has spiked in Iraq in recent weeks with the Sunnis staging frequent anti-government demonstrations drawing tens of thousands of people. However, the organizers of the protests have distanced themselves from calls by an Al-Qaeda front in Iraq to take up arms against the government.

Al-Qaeda's local wing, the Islamic State of Iraq, and other Sunni Islamist groups have been resurgent in Iraq since the last American troops left the country in December 2011.