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Suicide bombers in ambulances kill 21 in two Iraq attacks

Iraqi security forces inspect the site of the Tikrit blast Credit: Reuters

Suicide bombers driving ambulances filled with explosives have killed at least 21 people and injured dozens of others in two attacks in Iraqi cities claimed by the so-called Islamic State.

One bomber killed 13 people after he detonated his vehicle at the entrance to the city of Tikrit during the busy morning 'rush hour' on Sunday.

Eight other people were killed in a similar attack targeting Shia pilgrims visiting the al-Askari mosque in the nearby city of Samarra, around 30 miles to the south of Tikrit.

Both attacks were claimed were the Islamic State, according to a report from the terror group's news agency Amaq.

Authorities in both cities declared curfews, fearing possible further attacks.

At least 18 people killed while fleeing IS in Iraq

Displaced Iraqis flee during a battle with Islamic State militants in Iraq Credit: Reuters

At least 18 people have been killed after two roadside bombs struck a convoy of families fleeing a town controlled by so-called Islamic State in Iraq.

The blasts targeted a truck carrying people from Hawija, which is around 120 km (75 miles) south of the terror group's stronghold of Mosul.

Seventeen of the dead were from the displaced families, regional police told Reuters.

One policeman in an accompanying patrol car was also killed.

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Iraqi troops dig in ahead of final push into Mosul

Poor weather has hampered the advance. Credit: Reuters

Iraqi special forces are holding their positions along Mosul's eastern outskirts as poor weather hampers their advance into the city to oust the so-called Islamic State.

Military chief Brigadier General Haider Fadhil said they did not plan to make any further advance into the terrorist stronghold on Wednesday because clouds could obscure the view of aircraft and drones.

Troops have made a swift advance to the outskirts of Mosul in recent weeks. However they have warned it could take months to finally drive out IS from the city.

Iraqi forces pictured by ITV News just kilometres from Mosul

Iraqi special forces are just a few kilometres from Mosul Credit: Twitter/Jonathan Wald

Iraqi special forces have been pictured by ITV News on the eastern outskirts of Mosul, as the army continues to press further into the city.

ITV News was with Iraqi soldiers just a few kilometres from the stronghold in northern Iraq - two weeks since an operation began to liberate it from so-called Islamic State.

On Tuesday, Iraqi forces said they had reached Gagjali on the city limits of Mosul.

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Iraqi forces capture first key building in battle for Mosul

Kurdish peshmerga fighters battle with Islamic State at Abu Jarboa village near Mosul. Credit: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service has entered the building where the state television station is based in Mosul, a commander of the elite unit told Reuters.

The building's seizure is the first important milestone as forces battle for control of the Islamic State-held city.

Two weeks after Iraqi forces, backed by extensive U.S.-led ground and air support, launched their campaign to retake Mosul they have cleared several villages and towns while advancing along the Tigris river from the south.

But fighting inside the city itself, the jihadists' last big bastion in Iraq and still home to 1.5 million residents, could take months.

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