BAGHDAD (AP) — Separate bombings in and around the Iraqi capital on Sunday killed at least 14 people, officials said, as authorities tightened security measures in Baghdad ahead of a major Shiite religious event that draws thousands of vulnerable pilgrims.
The deadliest attack took place in the town of Tarmiyah when a car bomber struck a police and army checkpoint, killing five security force members and wounding 10, a police officer said. The town is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Baghdad.
Another car bomb killed three civilians and wounded eight at an outdoor market in Taji, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Baghdad, the officer added.
In the capital's southern Abu Disher neighborhood, a bomb targeted Shiite pilgrims, killing two and wounding seven. Another civilian was killed and five wounded in a bomb attack in an outdoor market in the northern Baghdad district of Shaab, police added.
The anniversary of the 8th-century Imam Mousa al-Kazim's death draws tens of thousands of Shiites from all walks to converge on his golden-domed shrine in northern Baghdad. The pilgrims typically march to the shrine while hundreds of tents are erected to offer them free food, drinks and services.
Also Sunday, a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden armored military vehicle into a group of government forces during clashes outside the Islamic State-held city of Fallujah. The attack killed at least three soldiers and wounded seven, an army officer said.
The Islamic State group, which controls vast areas of northern and western Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attack In an online statement posted on a militant website.
Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information.
Iraq is going through its worst crisis since the 2011 U.S. troop withdrawal as the government is struggling to recapture lost territory from the militants and to maintain security in other parts of the country.
Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.