Suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State group killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 30 in two cities north of Baghdad on Sunday, officials said.
One bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle at the southern entrance to Tikrit, while the other blew up an ambulance in Samarra, the officials said.
Jassem al-Jbara, the head of Salaheddin province’s security committee, said the Tikrit attack killed 12 people and wounded 20, while six people died and 12 more were hurt in Samarra.
Security and medical officials confirmed the attacks, but gave higher tolls.
IS issued a statement claiming the attacks, but said there were three suicide bombers: two who struck Samarra and the third hitting Tikrit.
The jihadist group identified two of the bombers as “Al-Moslawi” -- a nom de guerre that would indicate they were from Mosul, though it could be a propaganda attempt to link militants from other areas with the ongoing battle for Iraq’s second city.
Iraqi forces are fighting to retake Mosul, the jihadist group’s last major urban stronghold in the country, in a massive operation that was launched on October 17.
IS has carried out a series of diversionary attacks since the start of the Mosul offensive in a bid to draw both attention and forces away from the battle.
But aside from the names of the two bombers, the IS statement made no reference to Mosul.
The Sunni extremist group overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air support have since regained significant ground.