Jan 31, 8:48 AM EST

Officials say bombings in and around Iraq's capital, Baghdad, kill 9 people


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BAGHDAD (AP) -- A series of bombings in and around the Iraqi capital killed nine people Saturday and a senior Kurdish commander died in clashes with Islamic State militants in northern Iraq.

A bomb exploded near a sheep market Saturday morning in the town of Madain, about 20 kilometers (14 miles) southeast of Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 11, police officials said.

A second blast struck near a string of car repair shops in central Baghdad, killing three people and wounding 10.

Authorities said another explosion also struck an army patrol in the town of Taji, just north of Baghdad, killing two soldiers and wounding four.

Medics confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

Meanwhile, two Kurdish security officers said Saturday that Kurdish Brig. Gen. Hussein Mansour was killed Friday night by a sniper shot near the oil rich city of Kirkuk during clashes between IS fighters and Kurdish security forces, known also as peshmerga.

The two officials said that Mansour has just replaced Brig. Gen. Shirko Fatih, who was killed early Friday after IS militants attacked peshmerga fighters' positions near Kirkuk.

Iraq is facing its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops. Militants from the Islamic State group now control about a third of the country. They are being resisted by a combined force of Iraqi soldiers, Kurdish peshmerga, and volunteer Shiite militiamen, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.

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Associated Press writer Imad Matti Kirkuk, Iraq contributed to this report.

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