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Iraq suicide bombers kill at least 21 in Baghdad

At least 21 people are dead after two suicide bombers targeted Iraqi police checkpoints in central Baghdad.

Both attacks were carried out by bombers on foot, wearing explosives-laden vests, according to police. One bomber struck in Baghdad's Bab al-Sharji area, killing nine civilians and three police officers. Forty-five people were injured in that explosion.

The second bomber struck at al-Wathba Square, killing nine people, including four policemen, and wounding 31.

Iraq is going through its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of US troops. The Islamic State group controls large swathes of the country's north and west after capturing Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul and the majority of the western Anbar province last year.

The Islamic State now holds about a third of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in its self-declared "caliphate".

Since the emergence of IS extremists, Baghdad has seen near-daily attacks, with roadside bombs, suicide blasts and assassinations targeting Iraqi forces and government officials, with significant casualties among the civilian population.

The violence has killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands of Iraqis.

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