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Baghdad car bombs kill 11, as Iraq forces prepare to declare victory in Tal Afar

Islamic State group militants launched four suicide car bomb attacks at Iraqi forces and civilians on Monday morning
Iraqi security forces and civilians inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Jamila market in Sadr City district of Baghdad (Reuters)

A car bomb killed at least 11 people in a crowded vegetable market in a Shia district of Baghdad on Monday, police and medics said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, though the Islamic State group has said they carried out a string of other recent attacks in the capital.

The car rigged with explosives detonated in the mainly Shia eastern district of Jamila in Sadr City, police said, as Iraqi government forces were preparing to declare victory over Islamic State more than 400km further north in the city of Tal Afar.

It was not immediately clear if a suicide bomber had driven the vehicle to the target or if it was a parked car bomb, police sources said.

Medics and police sources said eight people died and 25 were wounded.

Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said four people were killed and 12 wounded, including two policemen. 

Last pocket of IS 

Iraqi forces engaged in heavy fighting on Monday near Tal Afar with the last pocket of Islamic State group militants in the northern province of Nineveh.

An AFP journalist saw fierce clashes pitting Iraqi government forces and allied militia against IS fighters in the town of Al-Ayadieh, 15km north of Tal Afar. 

Iraqi troops, police and special forces, allied with the Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary coalition, took control of all districts inside Tal Afar on Sunday, a week after launching their latest offensive against an IS stronghold.

Clearing operations were continuing and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was expected to soon arrive in the city to announce its "liberation" from IS.

Fighters from the Popular Mobilisation units, backing the Iraqi forces, pose with the Iraqi flag from Tal Afar's Ottoman-era historic citadel after troops took control of the area (AFP)

Some of those militants inside Tal Afar were believed to have fled to Al-Ayadieh, located on the road between the city and the Syrian border, where they appeared to be making a desperate last stand.

IS launched three suicide car bomb attacks at Iraqi forces on Monday morning and smoke could be seen rising above the town from air strikes carried out in support of ground troops.

The Iraqi advance against IS is backed by the US-led coalition that launched an air war against the militants in 2014, a few months after they seized control of large parts of Syria and Iraq.

Much of that territory has since been lost to the militants in the face of US-backed offensives by Iraqi forces and an Arab-Kurdish alliance in Syria. 

In Iraq, IS now only controls the city of Hawija, about 300km north of Baghdad, and desert areas along the border with Syria.

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