A suicide car bomber has struck a busy marketplace in the Iraqi town of Hilla, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 60.
"Most of the wounded were women and children, and the blast destroyed 15 vehicles," Lieutenant Eid al-Shammari told Agence France Presse news agency.
The explosion occurred at 0900 (0700 GMT), as many people were making their way to work or shopping in the area.
The mostly Shia town is 100km (60 miles) south of Baghdad.
"I heard a tremendous explosion followed by a fire ball. Then nearby cars were set ablaze one by one and I saw four or five people struggling to get out of their burning cars," Eassam Rashid, a market stall owner, told the Associated Press news agency.
Many of the wounded had serious burns, said Dr Mohammed Dhia, head surgeon at the Hilla hospital.
The attack came a day after 16 people died in four car bombs in the centre of Baghdad.
US and Iraqi forces have been carrying out a series of raids in and around Baghdad to try and stop bomb attacks by suspected Sunni insurgents.
Meanwhile Iraq's government is hosting a second round of rare talks between Iran and the US to discuss Iraqi security.