Mosul, Iraq (Reuters): Twin suicide bomb blasts ripped through a wedding party in a village near the Iraqi city of Tikrit on Wednesday killed at least 23 people, several injured.
The blasts in the village of Hajjaj, reported by local officials and medics as suicide attacks, were not immediately claimed, although Daesh has carried out similar actions as it comes under pressure in Mosul.
A police source said two blasts hit the wedding and two more targeted security forces at the scene shortly afterwards. There were ongoing clashes between security forces and militants in the area, he said.
Inside Mosul, troops battled the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim fighters, who hid among the remaining civilian population and deployed snipers and suicide car bombs to defend their last major Iraq stronghold.
The U.S.-backed campaign to crush the militants saw Iraqi forces recapture the eastern side of Mosul in January. They launched their assault on the western half last month.
The retreat of Daesh’s self-styled caliphate, which leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared from a mosque in Mosul’s old city in 2014, has been accompanied by bomb attacks in areas outside the group’s control, including Baghdad and cities in neighboring Syria.
In November deadly and apparently diversionary bomb attacks by the group hit Tikrit and Samarra, both north of Baghdad.