BAGHDAD - A series of car bombs targeting security forces killed at least 14 people across Iraq, leaving dozens wounded.

Car bombs and roadside devices exploded almost simultaneously in Baghdad and several other Iraqi cities.      

The wave of attacks took place on the eve of the Islamic festival of Muharram, an important date on the Shia Muslim religious calendar, BBC News reports

Al Jazeera also notes the symbolic character of the simultaneous attacks, which occurred just a day before the month of Muharram which marks the Islamic new year on the lunar calendar.

The deadliest explosion happened in the disputed and ethnically-mixed city of Kirkuk, 250 kilometers north of Baghdad, where four bombs planted in parked cars went off simultaneously, killing nine people and wounding 30, Reuters reports.

About an hour later, another parked car bomb hit an Iraqi army patrol in the Sunni-dominated town of Hawija to the west of Kirkuk, killing five soldiers and wounding four others, AP reports.

In the southern city of Hilla, 100 kilometers south of the Iraqi capital, four people were killed in a car bomb blast, while another car bomb targeting an Interior Ministry official in central Baghdad killed one passer-by and wounded nine others.