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Several dead in multiple blasts in Iraq's Kirkuk

Explosions occurred after iftar at sites including two shopping centres, an ice cream parlour and a butcher's shop
An Iraqi soldier stands guard in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk (AFP)

Several people have been killed and others injured in a series of explosions in the Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk.

Sources in the city's general hospital told the Reuters news agency that at least five people had died and 18 had been injured.

At least six improvised explosive devices went off in the northern city and two more were defused by security forces, the Iraqi military said in a statement. 

It gave a lower death toll of three and said 16 were injured.

The series of explosions occurred on Thursday after iftar, the meal that breaks fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when streets are often crowded with shoppers and people eating out.

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The blast sites included two shopping centres, an ice cream parlour and a butcher's shop, local media reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Saad Harbya, the head of Kirkuk security operations, blamed the Islamic State (IS) group.

Speaking on Rudaw TV, Harbya accused IS of trying to "retaliate against the harsh attacks by Iraqi forces", adding that the situation was now under control.

Iraq declared victory over IS, which once held large swathes of the country, in December 2017.

But IS fighters are active in the area and have switched to hit-and-run attacks aimed at undermining the Baghdad government.

The group's fighters have regrouped in the Hamrin mountain range in the northeast, which extends from Diyala province, on the border with Iran, crossing northern Salahuddin province and southern Kirkuk.