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Triple suicide attack kills 11 Iraqi troops, wounds 34

Iraqi families
Iraqi families who took refuge in Kirkuk prepare to return to their homes in Sharqat after government forces recaptured the town from ISIS.
(Marwan Ibrahim / AFP/Getty Images)

A triple suicide bombing against a security checkpoint north of Baghdad early Saturday killed at least 11 members of the security forces, a police officer said. 

The spokesman for the Salahuddin province police force, Col. Mohammed Jabouri, said three militants rammed their explosives-laden vehicles into the main checkpoint near the town of Salam at the province’s northern entrance. Jabouri added that 34 other security officers were wounded. 

He said the attack occurred as the local police chief and head of the provincial security committee were visiting the site. Both escaped unharmed. 

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Islamic State militants have claimed multiple similar attacks. The Sunni extremists frequently launch attacks targeting Iraq’s security forces and civilians in public areas. The group stepped up attacks in recent months as it has lost territory in northern and western Iraq that it had captured in 2014. 

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In April 2015, Iraqi security forces drove out Islamic State militants from the Salahuddin provincial capital, Tikrit, about 80 miles north of Baghdad. The attack came days after government forces recaptured the town of Shirqat, north of Tikrit, from Islamic State militants. 

Backed by the U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, the Iraqi government is gearing up for a major military operation to dislodge the militants from the city of Mosul. The city, about 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, is the last major Islamic State urban stronghold in Iraq. U.S. officials have said for some time that they expect the Mosul operation to begin in October. 

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