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At least 17 killed in southern Baghdad truck bombing

At least 17 people have been killed and some 60 more injured after an explosive-laden truck exploded at a security checkpoint in southern Baghdad.

According to Press TV, local police said on Wednesday night that the incident occurred when the vehicle’s driver detonated the explosives while waiting to pass through the checkpoint.

Several other vehicles waiting to pass through the checkpoint were also severely damaged in the blast.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but such incidents are usually claimed by the Daesh terrorist group, which is battling against Iraqi troops in Mosul, its last bastion in the country.

Meanwhile, Iraqi troops have increased their control around western Mosul’s al-Nuri mosque during operations to the retake the northern city.

Daesh’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, announced the forming of the group’s so-called caliphate from the mosque in 2014.

“Federal police forces have imposed full control over the Qadheeb al-Ban area and the al-Malab sports stadium in the western wing of Old Mosul and are besieging terrorists around the al-Nuri mosque,” said Federal Police Forces Commander Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat.

Government helicopters have been circling the city and attacking terrorist-held positions around a train station that has been the scene of fierce fighting for the last few days.

According to fleeing residents, heavy gunfire can be heard from all from the Old city area, where the terrorists are hiding amongst civilians and using the tight streets and alleyways and snaking roads to their advantage.

Large numbers of civilians have so far managed to escape the city, but thousands remain and are being used by the terrorists as human shields.

Iraqi forces have been operating in the Old City area for several weeks, but they have faced tough resistance and progress has been slow.

Government troops and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi forces drove Daesh terrorists from the eastern part of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, earlier this year. The fight has now moved to Mosul’s densely populated western neighborhoods.