At least 21 people were killed and up to 75 wounded in a suicide car bomb attack at a police headquarters that one official said was retaliation for Osama bin Laden's killing.
The attack occurred in the center of Hilla, the capital city of Babil Province some 62 miles south of Baghdad.
At least 75 people also were wounded in the attack, which occurred during a handover between the overnight and morning shifts, the Interior Ministry said, CNN reports. Most of the killed and wounded were police officers, Xinhua reports.
The attack bears the hallmark of Al Qaeda in Iraq, and Kadhim Majeed Toman, chairman of the Babil provincial council said, "I believe today's attack was revenge from Al Qaeda after the killing of bin Laden in Pakistan."
Iraqi security forces have been on high alert throughout Iraq since bin Laden's killing in a raid on his Pakistan compound by U.S. Navy SEALs on May 1.
Al Qaeda is a largely Sunni Muslim group, and attacks have been confined to areas with significant Sunni populations, CNN reports.
Violence is down considerably in Iraq from its peak between 2005 and 2007, but assassinations, bombings and other attacks remain regular occurrences.