At least five people have been killed in two car bomb attacks in southern Iraq.

Police said dozens more were injured in the explosions at a cattle market in the mainly Shia city of Diwaniya, 150km south of the capital Baghdad.

Cows and calves were lying on the ground, covered in blood and dirt, after the bombs were detonated simultaneously.

No one claimed responsibility for the attacks immediately.

However, Sunni Muslim insurgents have been redoubling their efforts to undermine the Shia-led government.

Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's power-sharing government has been all but paralysed since US troops withdrew in December 2011.

The attacks followed a series of explosions in Shia districts of Baghdad last night in which up to 22 people were killed.