2 car bombs explode in Basra, Iraq

The attacks came as Iraqi forces backed by anti-IS worldwide coalition are carrying out a major offensive to drive out the IS from their major stronghold in Mosul.

Five civilians and three troops were killed when the bomber blew up his explosives-laden auto on Friday at a checkpoint north of Basra just behind a bus waiting to be cleared, said chief of the Basra Operations Command, Lt. Gen. Jamil al-Shimmari.

At least 41 others were wounded, al-Shimmari said.

At least 18 persons were killed and 20 wounded in two suicide vehicle bombings that targeted the Iraqi police in Baghdad, an official said on Saturday. IS still controls some eight square kilometers of western Mosul, including the dense Old City where some of the toughest battles are expected to play out.

Separately, two more attacks late on Friday killed at least 19 people, including security forces, and wounded 25 others in southern Baghdad.

Basra, about 550 kilometres (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, is home to about 70 per cent of the country's proven oil reserves of 153.1 billion barrels.

Thirty-five people are dead and 33 injured after a string of suicide bombings claimed by Islamic State extremist militia in two Iraqi cities.

Iraq military and volunteer militia forces have nearly liberated the city, with some 98 percent of the city retaken so far.

Daesh terror group has claimed the responsibility for the attack.

On February 19, Iraqi forces started a major offensive to wrest back the western section of Mosul from Islamic State, nearly a month after they recaptured the eastern part of the city.

One militant was also killed by the security forces.

  • Leroy Wright