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At least five dead in blasts in Iraq's Kirkuk - medical sources

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KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) – At least five people were killed and 18 injured in a series of explosions in the Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk, medical sources in the city’s general hospital told Reuters on Thursday.

At least six improvised explosive devices went off in the northern city and two more were defused by security forces, the Iraqi military said in a statement. It gave a lower death toll of three and said 16 were injured.

The explosion sites included two malls, an ice cream shop and a butcher’s shop, local media reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Islamic State militants are active in the area. Iraq declared victory over the group, which once held large swathes of the country, in December 2017.

But Islamic State has switched to hit-and-run attacks aimed at undermining the Baghdad government.

Its fighters have regrouped in the Hamrin mountain range in the northeast, which extends from Diyala province, on the border with Iran, crossing northern Salahuddin province and southern Kirkuk.

(Reporting by Mustafa Mahmoud and Saman Mahmoud; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Hugh Lawson and James Dalgleish)

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