BAGHDAD (AFP) - The deadliest violence in Iraq in seven months killed 355 people in April, official figures showed Friday, but the US military insisted that recent bombings have not sparked acts of sectarian revenge. Statistics compiled by the defence, interior and health ministries showed that 290 civilians, 24 soldiers and 41 policemen were killed in violent attacks across the country last month, and that 747 people were wounded. The death toll was 40 percent higher than in March because of a wave of attacks, including six car bombs that rocked the Iraqi capital at rush hour on April 29, killing more than 50 people and wounding dozens more. The deadliest attacks targeted busy markets in Baghdads sprawling eastern slum of Sadr City, where three car bombs exploded late afternoon as residents including women and children made their way home. The synchronised bombings recalled attacks on crowded Shia areas at the height of Iraqs sectarian fighting in 2006. The US military, however, denied such a link, saying recent violence was due to Al-Qaedas efforts to concentrate attacks around Baghdad and other hotspots, such as the northern city of Mosul, due to its overall diminished capacity. The purpose (of such attacks) is to generate ethno-sectarian violence, because ethno-sectarian violence is generally what escalates it to an out-of-control situation, Major General David Perkins told reporters. (Al-Qaeda) may have accomplished their task, which is to kill lots of innocent civilians, but the purpose... so far has not occurred. Last week at least 140 people were killed in just 24 hours as suicide attackers targeted areas packed with civilians in Baghdad and a restaurant full of Iranian pilgrims northeast of the capital. In the deadliest attack this year, two female suicide bombers struck a shrine in Baghdad, killing at least 65 people, on April 25. Another suicide bomber killed 28 people who had been receiving food aid in the city. A day earlier a suicide bomber massacred 56 people, including 52 Iranian pilgrims, at the restaurant in restive Diyala province. The brutal spike in attacks comes two months before US troops are to withdraw from Iraqi cities, under a military accord between Baghdad and Washington that will see American soldiers leave Iraq completely by 2011. The attacks have raised security fears of a resurgence in violence as the Iraqi army has moved to decapitate militant groups, including loyalists to the defunct regime of former dictator Saddam Hussein, linked to Al-Qaeda. Last week the military announced the arrest of the elusive Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, said to be the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The government said that April 29s coordinated attacks came in response to his arrest. The governments figures also showed 831 Iraqis were arrested last month. Since the beginning of the year 1,056 people have been killed nationwide, mostly civilians. Nevertheless, the monthly toll for April was significantly lower than last September when 440 Iraqis were killed. Security has improved dramatically since 2007, when Iraqi and US forces launched offensives against Al-Qaeda with the help of local US-financed and trained militias. In January 2007 alone, 1,992 civilians, 40 soldiers and 55 police were killed. In 2008, 6,772 Iraqis were killed countrywide. Eighteen US soldiers also died last month, the highest toll since September, bringing to 4,281 the number of American losses since the invasion, according to an AFP count based on the independent website icasualties.org.