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Jan 25, 12:30 PM EST

Officials say bombings kill 15 in Iraq's capital, Baghdad


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BAGHDAD (AP) -- A string of bombings ripped mainly through commercial areas in Iraq's capital Sunday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens, officials said.

The deadliest attack took place in Baghdad's Bab al-Sharji area, where a bomb went off outside a small restaurant, killing seven civilians and wounding 22, a police officer said. Another bombing in the central Sibaa area killed three civilians and wounded 11, he said.

At night, a bomb blast targeting a patrol of anti-militant fighters, known as Sahwa, killed three Sunni fighters and wounded two others in the southern Baghdad's suburb of Arab Jabour.

The Sahwa are made up of Sunni militiamen who joined U.S. troops in the fight against al-Qaida during the height of Iraq's insurgency in 2007 and 2008.

Also, police said a bomb explosion on a commercial street in Baghdad's southern district of Abu Dashir, killing two people and wounding 12 others.

Health officials confirmed the casualty figures from all attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings. Iraq sees near-daily attacks, mainly targeting the country's Shiite majority and security forces. The attacks often are claimed by the Islamic State group, which seized about a third of the country last year.

Meanwhile, fierce clashes have been taking place around the town of Muqdadiyah, about 90 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, between the Islamic State group and government security forces allied with Shiite militias, an army officer and a police officer said.

The officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to journalists, said the government forces had recaptured seven villages and that security forces and Shiite fighters suffered causalities, without elaborating.

The Islamic State group's offensive has become Iraq's worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops. It has exploited widespread Sunni discontent with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

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Associated Press writers Murtada Faraj and Sameer N. Yacoub contributed to this report.

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