It was one of the deadliest days of violence to hit the Iraqi capital in recent weeks.
At least 36 people were killed and over 100 injured when three car bombs exploded at two crowded markets in the Shi'ite district of Al-Sadr City.
Sixteen others died and around 25 were hurt in further bomb, mortar and gunfire attacks in other parts of the capital.
In other developments, Iraq's President Jalal Talabani announced that the country's new parliament will hold its inaugural session on March 16 -- three days earlier than planned – and the trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein resumed.
Hussein and his seven co-defendants have been on trial since October, accused of organizing reprisals against villagers in Al-Dujayl after a 1982 assassination attempt on Hussein.
Today marked the first time that three of Hussein's co-accused testified. All denied helping to draft lists of people from Al-Dujayl who were then arrested, tortured, and executed. In all, 148 people from the village were rounded up and killed.
The trial is due to resume on March 13.
(compiled from agency reports)