Blast in Iraq injures five Italian soldiers: Italian military

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An explosion in Iraq has injured five Italian soldiers, three of them seriously, the Italian military said on Sunday.

The military said an improvised explosive devise detonated as a team of Italian special forces passed close by. The wounded men were evacuated to safety by US helicopters and none of them are believed to have suffered life-threatening injuries.

The group were in Iraq as part of an international mentoring and training mission, which is helping local forces who are battling ISIS, the military said.

“Our men were training Iraqi security forces engaged in fighting ISIS,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

“I am following the situation with sorrow and apprehension,” he wrote on Twitter.

The military did not say where the incident happened, but the AdnKronos news agency said the attack took place near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

The blast happened three days before the 16th anniversary of a suicide attack in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya, which killed 18 Italian servicemen, an Italian civilian and nine Iraqi civilians.

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