An Iraqi man inspects the damage at the Mar Afram Syriac Orthodox Church after an explosion in the northern city of Kirkuk. (Marwan Ibrahim/AFP/Getty Images)

The holy month of Ramadan had been relatively peaceful in Iraq. American troops continued to work toward their pullout from the country in December; the Iraqi government focused on the question of how to maintain security after they left.

And then bombs exploded and AK-47-wielding assailants attacked Monday morning in cities across Iraq. More than 70 people died and dozens more were wounded in what appears to be a highly synchronized and planned attack. Though it is unknown who is behind the attack, many think it looks like an al-Qaeda-led operation. See the map of the cities hit:

View Iraq explosions in a larger map

Further reading:

Full story on the attack

Photo gallery of the aftermath

AP Video of the attack