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Balad Ruz, Samarra Attacked in Iraq

Car bombs in Iraq have targeted a market and a checkpoint north of Baghdad, killing more than a dozen people, as Iraq's prime minister vowed to punish the Islamic State militants who smashed ancient artifacts in their stronghold, the northern city of Mosul.

A car bomb exploded Saturday near the market in the town of Balad Ruz, northeast of Baghdad, killing at least five people and wounding at least 15 more. There were two blasts; the source of the second one is not clear.

Later, near the city of Samarra, a suicide bomber detonated at a military checkpoint, killing at least eight people. The Associated Press reports 15 others were wounded.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Meanwhile Iraq's Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, has vowed to track down and punish the Islamic State fighters who posted online videos of themselves smashing rare, ancient artifacts in Mosul. Al-Abadi called the perpetrators "barbaric, criminal terrorists" and said they are trying to destroy the heritage of mankind and Iraqi civilization.

Islamic State fighters have previously destroyed Christian and Muslim shrines, saying the images are symbols of idolatry.

Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, fell to IS forces as they overran parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014.

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