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Hilla (Iraq) (AFP) - A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged minibus at a crowded checkpoint near Baghdad on Sunday, killing 18 people, after Iraq's premier accused Riyadh and Doha of fuelling bloodshed in his country. Iraq has been hit by a year-long surge in bloodletting 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. Attacks have continued unabated, with a morning rush-hour bombing of a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Hilla, the confessionally-mixed but mostly-Shiite capital of Babil province south of Baghdad, killing 18 people and leaving 75 others wounded.