A man in a southern Iraqi city offered jobs to draw a crowd of day labourers to his van on Sunday, then detonated a bomb that killed 22 people and wounded 44 others.

He drove up to themen in the mostly Shia Muslim city of Hillah, 90 kilometres south of Baghdad, and set off his explosives asthey gathered around the vehicle, police said.

The explosion shattered windows of a nearby store. One of the survivors, Mohammed Abbas Kadhim, said he was thrown a few metres by the blast.

"I couldn't see or hear for a few minutes as I was lying on the ground. People were racing everywhere looking for their missing sons, brothers, friends — all of them shouting, 'God is great."'

'The ground was covered with the remains of people and blood, and survivors ran in all directions.' -Man who was wounded in the attack

"I was standing outside, nearby," said Muhsin Hadi Alwan, one of the wounded day labourers.

"The ground was covered with the remains of people and blood, and survivors ran in all directions."

Iraq has been torn apart by sectarian violence from militants and death squads — both from theSunni Muslim minority, which dominated the government under ousted president Saddam Hussein, and the Shia majority, who have controlled the government since the 2005 parliamentary election.

There have also been hundreds of deaths resulting from the struggle between insurgents and the U.S.-led coalition forces.

Attacks by suspected insurgents in other areas of Iraq on Sunday killed 30 people and wounded 58, raising the day's death toll to 52 by midday.

In a Shia district of eastern Baghdad, three car bombs went off at a bus station, killing at least 10 people and wounding 45.

U.S. and Iraqi forces also killed 12 insurgents, detained 11 and freed eight Iraqi hostages while conducting raids in Baqouba and two villages near Kirkuk, police said.

With files from the Associated Press