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BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide car bomber set off his explosive-laden vehicle at a security checkpoint in southern Iraq on Sunday, killing at least 22 people, officials said. The attack, which comes a few weeks before scheduled elections, was the latest by insurgents bent on destabilizing the country.
Hilla (Iraq) (AFP) - A suicide bomber killed 21 people, including two state television employees, at a checkpoint near Baghdad Sunday, after Iraq's premier accused Riyadh and Doha of fuelling bloodshed in the country. Iraq has been hit by a year-long surge in violence that has reached levels not seen since 2008, driven principally by widespread discontent among its Sunni Arab minority and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria. Analysts and diplomats have urged Iraq's Shiite-led authorities to reach out to disaffected Sunnis but with elections due next month, political leaders have not wanted to be seen to compromise and have instead pursued a hard line against militants. The suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged minibus during morning rush hour at a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Hilla, the confessionally-mixed but mostly-Shiite capital of Babil province south of Baghdad.
A Syrian journalist has been killed covering clashes between government forces and opposition fighters in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, a regional broadcaster said. Beirut-based Al Mayadeen said on its website that its cameraman Omar Abdelqader was shot in the neck on Saturday and was pronounced dead in hospital shortly afterwards. Syria was the deadliest place for journalists in 2013 for the second year, the Committee to Protect Journalists, a media rights group based in New York, said in December. Al Mayadeen quoted a local Syrian military commander as saying Abdelqader was shot by a sniper while he was filming government forces advancing on an area in the rebel-held city.