Gunmen are reported to have kidnapped 45 Shias from the Iraqi city of Najaf as they travelled home past the Sunni rebel stronghold of Ramadi today. 

The governor of Najaf said they were abducted along highway 160, one of Iraq's most dangerous roads. 

Police could not immediately confirm the kidnappings, which come on a day when more than 50 people were killed in a series of attacks across the country.

A massive roadside bomb destroyed a bus carrying Iraqi soldiers from Baghdad to Mosul, killing at least 23 and injuring 20 more.

The bus was travelling between the towns of Tikrit and Baiji.

A short while earlier, a car bomb in the middle-class Baghdad neighbourhood of Karrada killed ten soldiers and policemen, as well as four civilians.

The bomb exploded on Rushdie Street, not far from where a car bombing and a series of mortar strikes killed 31 people last Thursday.

Four electricity board employees were killed and four more  wounded when their minibus was sprayed with gunfire in central  Baghdad.

In Muqdadiyah, 100km northeast of Baghdad, seven people died and ten were injured when a bomb exploded outside a police post and a bus station in a religiously-mixed area.

One police officer was killed and four injured, but the rest of the victims were civilians.

In Kirkuk in the north of the country, two policemen were killed and two more, including a senior officer, were injured in a roadside bombing.

And two soldiers - one British and one American - were  also killed.