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Iraq officials: Car bombs in and around Baghdad kill at least 12 civilians

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BAGHDAD — Car bombs ripped through commercial areas in and around the Iraqi capital on Sunday, killing at least 12 civilians, officials said.

The deadliest attack took place in Khilani Square, a busy commercial area in central Baghdad, where a car bomb killed at least five people and wounded 15, a police officer said. The car was parked near a Sunni mosque and a gathering of motorcycle vendors.

Hours earlier, an explosives-laden car ripped through a commercial area in the town of Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, killing at least four civilians and wounded another nine, another police officer said.

Three people were killed and 13 wounded in another car bomb explosion in Baghdad's southwestern Amil neighborhood, he added.

Medical officials confirmed the toll. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

Baghdad sees near-daily bombings mainly targeting security forces and the country's Shiite majority. The Islamic State group and other Sunni extremists are believed to be behind the attacks.

Government forces are struggling to dislodge Islamic State militants from the western province of Anbar and much of northern Iraq.

Iraqi troops backed by Shiite militias and U.S.-led airstrikes managed to retake the northern city of Tikrit, but they have also suffered a number of setbacks.

On Saturday, IS militants attacked a border crossing between Iraq and Jordan with three suicide car bombs, killing four Iraqi soldiers.

The day before, the militants attacked an army base guarding a lock system on the canal between Lake Tharthar and the Euphrates River in Anbar, killing the army's 1st Division commander and several others.

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Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj in Baghdad contributed to this report.

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