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Suicide bombing kills 12 in Iraq: officials

Clashes between Iraqi security forces and ISIS militants erupted immediately after the attack

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A suicide car bomb killed 12 Shiite militiamen and Iraqi soldiers Monday in a town north of Baghdad, authorities said, sparking a battle between security forces and fighters with the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a gathering of soldiers and Shiite fighters in the town of Abasiyat, just south of Tikrit, 130 kilometers north of Baghdad, police said.

Police and hospital officials said that the attack killed 10 militiamen and two soldiers, while wounding 18 people.

Clashes between Iraqi security forces and ISIS militants erupted immediately after the attack, police said, though the extremists did not immediately claim responsibility for the bombing.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

Iraq sees near-daily bombings and other attacks mainly targeting the Shiite majority and security forces. Tikrit, held by ISIS, and surrounding areas have been under constant attacks by its extremists.

ISIS captured about a third of Iraq last year. The militant onslaught has become Iraq’s worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Meanwhile Monday, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said Mahdi Norouzi, a member of paramilitary wing of its elite Revolutionary Guard, was killed while fighting the ISIS in Iraq.

Shiite powerhouse Iran has sent officers to Iraq, but insists they are only providing military advice and training to Iraqi forces. In December, a senior Revolutionary Guard commander was killed in a battle in Iraq.