12 Dead in 2 Car Bomb Attacks in Baghdad; ISIS Involved

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An Islamic State flag is seen in this picture illustration taken February 18. Dado Ruvic/Reuters

At least 12 people were killed on Saturday in two separate car bomb attacks in Baghdad targeting security forces, police sources said.

The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) was behind the larger blast, according to the Amaq news agency, which supports the group. The attack on a security checkpoint in the northern al-Husseiniya district killed nine people and wounded 28 others.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the second bombing, which targeted an army convoy in Arab al-Jabour, an area of date palm groves on Baghdad's southern outskirts. Three people were killed there, and 11 others were wounded.

The Iraqi government has retaken several major cities from ISIS in the past year, including the western cities of Ramadi and Hit, and slowly pushed the militants back toward the Syrian border.

Security has gradually improved in Baghdad, which witnessed daily attacks a decade ago, though bombings against the security forces and Shi'ite residential or commercial areas are still a regular occurrence. A blast claimed by Islamic State hit a Shi'ite Muslim mosque on Friday.

The rise of the ultra-hardline Sunni group, which is battling government forces over control of vast territory in northern and western Iraq, has exacerbated a long-running sectarian conflict, mostly between Shi'ites and Sunnis, that emerged after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.