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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Suicide car bomb kills 21 in town north of Baghdad

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but suicide attacks in Iraq are usually claimed by ISIL

At least 21 people were killed in a suicide car bombing on a busy market in a town north of Baghdad on Tuesday.

Dozens more were wounded when the attacker blew up the vehicle in the middle of the fruit and vegetable market in Tuz Khurmatu, a security official said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Suicide attacks in Iraq are usually claimed by ISIL, which has suffered a string of military defeats and last week lost control of the last town it was holding in the country.

Tuz Khurmatu is home to a mixed Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen population. It was the scene of deadly violence in mid-October when Iraqi forces retook it from Kurdish forces in response to the Kurdish independence referendum the previous month.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi said on Tuesday ISIL had been defeated from a military perspective but he would only declare final victory after the militants were routed in the desert, Reuters reported.

Iraqi forces on Friday captured the border town of Rawa, the last remaining town under ISIL control.

Securing desert and border areas is what remains in the campaign against ISIL, military commanders say.

Political disagreements will pave the way for the Sunni militant group to carry out attacks, however, Mr Al Abadi said. He was referring to the central Baghdad government's dispute with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government over the latter's declaration of independence following a September 25 referendum.

Mr Al Abadi, addressing a weekly news conference, hailed a federal court verdict that ruled the Kurdish referendum unconstitutional and called on Kurds not to resort to violence.

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