Bombings kill 19 people in Iraq

A series of car bombs on Saturday ripped through a crowded marketplace and Shiite militia's checkpoint, killing a total of 19 people in separate attacks north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, officials said.

Baghdad: A series of car bombs on Saturday ripped through a crowded marketplace and Shiite militia's checkpoint, killing a total of 19 people in separate attacks north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, officials said.

Police said the first attack took place this morning when a car bomb exploded near a busy market in the town of Balad Ruz. Minutes later, a second car bomb went off, targeting people who gathered to inspect the site of the first blast. Balad Ruz is 70 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.

Police and hospital officials said 11 people were killed and 50 wounded.

Later on, a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into a checkpoint manned by Shiite militiamen who are fighting Islamic State militants near the city of Samarra, killing eight Shite fighters and wounding 15 others.

Samarra and the surrounding areas have been under constant attacks by the Islamic State group, which captured large swaths of western and northern Iraq last summer.

Police said clashes erupted between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants following the attack in areas around Samarra, 95 kilometers north of Baghdad.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Nobody claimed responsibly for the attacks. Iraq sees near-daily attacks that are often claimed by the Islamic State group, which seized about a third of the country last year.

Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militiamen have been struggling to retake areas lost to the group. 

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