Middle East

Iraq: Deadly bombing hits police in Hilla

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Media captionThe attack occurred during a shift change at the Hilla police station

A suicide bomb attack in Iraq has killed at least 16 people and injured more than 40.

The bomber drove a car laden with explosives into a police headquarters in Hilla, a city south of Baghdad.

The attack took place during a shift change, when many police officers were outside the building. Most of the victims were police.

Hilla is a mainly Shia city and has in the past come under attack by Sunni militants.

The blast walls in front of the police headquarters in Hilla collapsed in the explosion and the building was badly damaged, a Reuters reporter said.

"The suicide bomber took advantage of the police station's guards changing shifts," said Haidar al-Zazour, the head of the provincial security committee.

"He managed to drive through the main gate and blew up his vehicle four metres inside the station's perimeter."

Other nearby buildings were also damaged.

Overall, violence has fallen dramatically in Iraq from its peak, but attacks remain common. A total of 211 Iraqis were killed in violence in April, according to official figures.