Militants from the radical group Islamic State (IS) have launched an attack on the northern Iraq city of Samarra, where security forces and Shi'ite militia groups have been assembling ahead of an anticipated offensive against IS positions.
Suicide bombers detonated their explosives-laden vehicles in the northern part of Samarra early February 28 and a man in a Humvee also packed with explosives blew up his vehicle in the southern part of the city.
At about the same time IS militants attacked security forces in the west part of the city using mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
Thousands of Shi'ite militia fighters have gathered around Samarra ahead of an expected offensive on IS-controlled areas along the Tigris River.
Local medical officials said at least three of those Shi'ite fighters were killed and six wounded.
Meanwhile, in the town of Balad Ruz, some 70 kilometers north of Baghdad, two car bombs exploded near a bazaar killing at least 19 people and wounding at least 30 others.