A combined car bomb and roadside bombing in a town north of Baghdad killed at least 35 people and wounded 47 on Tuesday, Iraqi officials said.

The bombing is the latest in a series of insurgent attacks as the Iraqi government and political factions debate whether to officially request from the United States that some American troops stay in the country past their year-end withdrawal deadline.

While violence in Iraq is now well below levels it was at during intense Shiite-Sunni sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007, militants have again stepped up deadly attacks. That has prompted concerns about what will happen when the 47,000 remaining U.S. troops pull out.

Tuesday's attack started when insurgents first detonated a parked car bomb in the parking lot of the local council building in the town of Taji around noon, police officials said.

That blast was followed by a roadside bomb that went off as civilians and security forces gathered to help the victims from the first explosion, the officials said.

Ambulances rushed to the scene, where about 20 cars were on fire and burnt human bodies, some of them women, lay on the ground.

"The scene was awful ... some of the lightly wounded people were running in all directions, either crying or screaming for help," said a policeman who identified himself only by his nickname, Abu Haider. He said he was not authorized to give his full name.

A doctor at a hospital confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media.

Taji is a Sunni-dominated town about 12 miles north of Baghdad. Tuesday's attack followed the June 23 when bombs ripped through Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, killing at least 40 people in. Two days earlier, a twin explosions including a suicide car bombing outside a government compound south of Baghdad killed 22 people.