Seven bomb explosions have killed 26 people and wounded 67 in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The blasts came as security forces battled Sunni Muslim militants around the western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi.

The bloodiest attack occurred in the mainly Shia Muslim Abu Dsheer district in southern Baghdad.

A car bomb near a crowded market killed seven people and wounded 18.

No group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

However, Sunni insurgents, some of them linked to al-Qaeda, are widely blamed for a surge in violence in the past year.

Five of the bombs targeted mainly Shia districts of the capital, while two were in mostly Sunni areas.

Sporadic fighting again flared around Fallujah and Ramadi.

Anti-government forces attacked an army barracks in Saqlawiya, 10km northwest of Fallujah, and destroyed two Humvee vehicles, before army helicopter gunships forced them to retreat.

One of the attackers was killed and two wounded, police said. There was no word on casualties among the army.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who faces a parliamentary election on 30 April, has ruled out a full-scale army assault on Fallujah, urging tribesmen to drive the militants from the city.

On Saturday, a wave of explosions across Baghdad killed 25 people, while 37 more died in a similar spate of attacks on Wednesday.