BAGHDAD - Three back-to-back suicide bombings killed at least 38 people in central Baghdad on Sunday morning and injured more than 200.
Sunday's blasts were detonated within minutes of each other, one near the Iranian embassy and two others in a neighborhood where the Egyptian Consulate and German and Spanish embassies are located.
Authorities managed to thwart two other attacks.
Security forces shot a man wearing a suicide belt in an explosives-laden car near the former German embassy. They also caught a potential bomber en route to the area where two of the bombings took place.
"These explosions targeted diplomatic missions. It's a terrorist act," Baghdad command center spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi told The Associated Press.
Iranian ambassador to Iraq Hasan Kazemi Qomi said he didn't know if the perpetrators were targeting the embassy.
"The explosion happened at the embassy gate, targeting visitors and Iraqi police," Qomi said. "There was some damage to the embassy building, but no employees were harmed inside," he said.
Iraqi state television aired video of the attack, showing the injured being loaded into ambulances and police cars.
"I saw children screaming while their mothers held their hands or clutched them to their chest," said one man who owns a nearby shop.
In a series of smaller bomb attacks overnight, one person was killed and nine others injured by an explosive device planted under a parked car, Iraqi police reported.
On Saturday, men dressed in Iraqi army uniforms killed 25 civilians in the village of Sufia (also known as Albusaifi), south of Baghdad. All the victims were associated with Sahwa or Awakening Councils, a civilian-led movement that has worked with U.S. forces to fight al-Qaeda-linked terror groups in the country.
The latest suicide attacks underscore the country's political instability following the March 7 elections, whose outcome is still undecided.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is fighting to stay in power, though the Iraqi National movement, supported by most of the country's Sunni population, won the majority of mandates in the parliamentary elections.
AP contributed to this report.