Suicide bombers detonated two explosives-laden vehicles early Tuesday near a government compound south of Baghdad, killing at least 22 people and wounding dozens, Iraqi officials said.

The attacks come as Iraq's top political factions started to discuss in earnest whether to ask some of the U.S. troops to stay beyond the Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline because of the security situation.  

Although violence is well below what it was during the years that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, militants are still able to launch deadly attacks. The violence has led to concerns about what will happen when the 47,000 remaining U.S. troops are withdrawn.  

Still, such violence is rare in the mostly Shia province of Diwaniyah, which is 130 kilometres outside of Baghdad and well south of most of the insurgents strongholds.  

Diwaniyah Gov. Salim Hussien Alwan said he was leaving his house when a suicide bomber rammed into a police checkpoint outside his house.

"I was in the garage preparing to leave when the attacker hit the police barrier outside and crashed with their vehicle," Alwan told The Associated Press in a phone interview.  

Minutes later, another suicide bomber attacked a compound housing the governor's office and other governmental buildings, according to a police officer and two medical officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to journalists.

At least 37 people were wounded in the attacks which occurred at about 7:30 a.m. when security forces were changing shifts, the officials said.

The latest major attacks in Diwaniyah occurred in 2009 when a bomb attached to a bus killed six people and in 2007 when a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol, killing seven officers.