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Suicide bomber drives vehicle into checkpoint in southern Iraq, killing at least 9

Officials say a suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into a security checkpoint in southern Iraq, killing nine.

Two police officers say the blast at the entrance of Hillah city killed six security personnel and three civilians, and wounded another 25 people. The Shiite-dominated city is located about 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Baghdad.

Two medical officials confirmed the figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

Iraq has seen a spike in violence since last April, with the death toll climbing to its highest levels since the worst of the country's sectarian bloodletting in 2006-2008. The U.N. says 8,868 people were killed in 2013, and more than 1,400 people were killed in January and February of this year.