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Back-to-back bomb blasts kill four policemen in northern Iraq

Second bomb struck a group of officers who were heading to the location of the first explosion near the town of Shirqat, 250km north of Baghdad
Shirqat was held by Islamic State until autumn 2017 and was one of the last areas recaptured by the government (AFP)

At least four policemen were killed and 11 wounded by two roadside bombs that targeted police convoys in back-to-back attacks in northern Iraq, the service and medical sources have said.

Two died and eight were wounded when a bomb hit a bus carrying police on their way to work near the town of Shirqat, its police chief Colonel Majeed Ghatran said.

Another bomb struck a second group of officers that was heading to the location of the first explosion, killing two and wounding three, he said.

No organisation has so far claimed responsibility for the bombings.

"At around 8am, the police officers were taking up their post at the southern entrance of Al-Sharqat," the town's mayor, Ali Dodah, told the AFP news agency.

"One bomb went off, killing two police officers and wounding eight. An hour and a half later, as reinforcements arrived, a second bomb went off."

Shirqat, located around 250km north of Baghdad, was held by Islamic State (IS) until autumn 2017.

It was one of the last areas recaptured by the government, which announced several months later that it had ousted IS from Iraq.

But hit-and-run attacks, particularly assassinations and kidnappings of local officials, still take place and hint at an underground network of IS sleeper cells in some of the country's most remote areas. 

On Thursday, a car bomb killed a police officer near Hawija, another former IS stronghold.