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Suicide bomber kills 34 at Iraq police checkpoint

By CNN Staff
March 9, 2014 -- Updated 1436 GMT (2236 HKT)
Sunday's attack happened at the entrance of the city, police officials told CNN.
Sunday's attack happened at the entrance of the city, police officials told CNN.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: At least 34 people killed, 121 wounded in suicide attack
  • Suicide bomber attacks police checkpoint in Hilla
  • Iraq has been beset with political and sectarian violence for months

(CNN) -- A suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives killed at least 34 people and wounded 121 others at a police checkpoint in the southern Iraqi city of Hilla, police officials said on Sunday.

Iraq has been beset with political and sectarian violence for months. More than 700 Iraqis were killed and nearly 1,400 others were wounded in terrorist attacks and other violence in February, the United Nations has said.

Militants took over a city council building days before

Iraq's faltering economy

Sunday's attack happened at the entrance of the city, the police officials told CNN. Hilla is a predominantly Shiite Muslim city about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the capital, Baghdad.

Two Iraqi journalists who worked at state-run Iraqiya TV died in the attack, the station reported.

Violence has raged in the country in the past year, often pitting Sunnis -- a minority in Iraq -- against Shiite Muslims, who came to dominate the government after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003.

The United Nations said 2013 was the deadliest year in Iraq since 2008, with almost 8,000 people killed.

Security forces have also been fighting insurgents from the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in western Anbar province, which borders Syria.

CNN's Marie-Louise Gumuchian contributed to this report

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