A suicide car bomber blew himself up in a crowded market in oil-rich southern Basra, killing 28 people and wounding 62. In Baghdad, a Russian diplomat was killed and four diplomatic employees were kidnapped.
Meanwhile, Iraq's prime minister was poised to appoint ministers to run the army and police, despite lingering disagreement among Iraq's ethnic and sectarian parties. Filling the posts is seen as a key step toward Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's plan for Iraqi forces to take control of security from US-led troops in 18 months.
Around Iraq, at least 42 people were killed Saturday and dozens were wounded, and police discovered the remains of 12 people, including eight severed heads.