By Jomana Karadsheh, CNN
updated 7:24 AM EST, Thu January 5, 2012
Baghdad (CNN) -- A series of bombings in Baghdad left 24 dead and dozens wounded Thursday, intensifying fears of an increase in sectarian violence in the midst of a political crisis.
A triple bombing in Baghdad's Sadr City area Thursday morning killed at least nine people and wounded 35 others, an official with Iraq's Interior Ministry said.
The first bomb -- attached to a motorcycle -- detonated near a group of laborers who were searching for day jobs in the Shiite neighborhood, according to the official. Shortly after that, two other bombs detonated in quick succession nearby.
Iraqis have been concerned about an increase in Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence after the U.S. military withdrawal from the country. Sectarian violence raged during the Iraq war last decade and became a integral part of the conflict.
Sunnis in Iraq have been feeling marginalized by the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is a Shiite. That alienation and anger intensified after he ordered the arrest last month of Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, who was charged with ordering bombings and assassinations.
Iraq is a majority Shiite nation. During the Saddam Hussein era, Sunnis had more political clout.
In other violence, car bombs exploded successively in northern Baghdad's predominantly Shiite Kadhimiya district on Thursday morning killing 15 and wounding 31, the Interior Ministry official said.
The bombs exploded in two busy squares that were about 150 meters apart.
Kadhimiya is busy with many Shiite pilgrims who are starting their pilgrimage walking to Karbala to commemorate Arbaeen. The Shiite pilgrimage marks the end of a 40-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed who was felled in a seventh-century battle in the Iraqi city.
There has been increased security on the roads to Karbala ahead of the pilgrimage that culminates later this month.