A suicide bomber detonated himself Monday outside a textile factory where crowds had gathered shortly after two car bombs went off at the same spot in the worst of a series of attacks that killed more than 100 people across Iraq, the deadliest day this year.
At least 40 were killed and 135 wounded in the triple blasts outside the textile factory in the city of Hillah south of Baghdad, said Maj. Muthana Khalid, spokesman for the Babil provincial police.
Dr. Zuhair al Khafaji, director of al-Hillah general hospital, confirmed the casualties.
Khalid said the man, who had explosives strapped to his belt, detonated himself among a crowd of people who were trying to help victims of the two earlier car bombs. The bombs exploded around 1:30 p.m. as workers were leaving the factory.
Police said the cars were parked outside the factory, about 25 yards apart, and were believed to be detonated by remote control.
Hillah, Babil's provincial capital, is 95 kilometers south of Baghdad.
It was the latest and deadliest single attack in the spate of violence across Iraq on Monday that began in Baghdad with early morning drive-by shootings and bombings at security checkpoints, an apparent targeted assault on police and army forces.
Overall, however, the attacks appeared to be indiscriminate.
They targeted Sunni and Shiite areas alike and delivered a chilling reminder that Iraq is far from free of violence despite security gains by Iraqi and US forces to protect the country from insurgents.
By mid-afternoon, at least 84 were killed across Iraq, and hundreds wounded.
Violence in the city and the rest of the country has fallen dramatically since the height of the insurgency in 2006 and 2007. But with two months gone after Iraq's March 7 election and no government in sight, there are concerns that the sectarian violence that once battered the city daily will reappear.