More than 20 people were killed in twin bomb blasts that hit a wedding party on Wednesday (8 March) in a village near Iraq's Tikrit. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Local officials and medics told Reuters that the explosions in the village of Hajjaj, which resembled Isis attacks, were carried out by suicide bombers.
The news agency quoted a police source as saying that the first two blasts were followed by two more targeting security forces at the wedding party venue. Clashes between some insurgents and the security forces continued for a while after the blasts, the person added.
Al Jazeera reported that at least 26 people were killed in the blast, following which the area was cordoned off. A wider curfew was also imposed in the area over fears of the presence of more militants. Tikrit, located 20km away from Hajjaj, was liberated of Isis rule in April 2015, but the Islamist group has continued to target the city in retaliatory attacks.
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces fighting to liberate western Mosul are facing similar suicide bombing attacks in the area. Major General Ali Kadhem al-Lami of the Federal Police's Fifth Division told Reuters that on Tuesday night, militants used car bombs in their counter-attack around the Nineveh governorate building to prevent their forces from taking control. "Today we're clearing the area which was liberated," he said.
Elsewhere, Iraq's Rapid Response force took back control of provincial government headquarters, the central bank branch and a museum in the area. Iraqi troops have already recaptured Mosul airport, which is believed to be a strategic position in the fight for west Mosul.