Iraqi police say three blasts have struck near three hotels in downtown Baghdad, killing at least 11 people. The officials say the blasts wounded at least 20 people.
The first blast struck at about 3:40 p.m. near the Sheraton Hotel along Abu Nawas Street, just across the Tigris River from the Green Zone.
The officials say two others struck near the Babylon Hotel and al-Hamra Hotel, which is popular with Western journalists, The Associated Press reports.
Despite a dramatic improvement in security in the city in the last three years, there have been notable exceptions with recent attacks similar to Monday's co-ordinated strike claiming hundreds of lives.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq and remnants of Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist regime have been blamed in the past for major atrocities in Baghdad, Telegraph.co.uk reports.
Monday's explosions come less than six weeks from a March 7 general election which both US forces and Iraqi politicians had warned could be a focus for violence.
The latest violence also occurred less than two weeks after security forces sealed off Baghdad after being tipped-off that bomb-laden cars had been parked in the city.
Insurgents, weakened in the past year, have in the past six months changed tactics and mounted successful high-profile attacks on "hard" targets such as government buildings, rather than so-called soft targets in civilian areas.
There are widespread fears, in the wake of the bloody attacks to hit Baghdad in the second half of 2009, that political violence will rise in the weeks leading up to the vote, France24 informs.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart