Baghdad - A suicide car bomber set off his explosive-laden vehicle at a security checkpoint on Sunday in southern Iraq, the deadliest of a series of attacks that killed 42 people, officials said. The violence, which comes a few weeks before scheduled elections, is the latest by insurgents bent on destabilising the country.
The blast struck the entrance of the city of Hillah during morning rush hour as dozens of cars waited to be searched. The explosion killed 21 civilians, including a woman and 12 year old, and 15 security personnel, two police officers said. It wounded at least 115, they said.
The bombing set dozens of cars ablaze, killing those trapped inside. Debris littered the ground, covered by foam sprayed by firefighters trying to extinguish the fire.
Police say the victims' burns suggested the bomber packed his car with liquid fuel, probably gasoline.
Hillah, a Shi'ite-dominated city, is located about 95km south of the capital, Baghdad.