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Baghdad Blast As Iraq 'Massacre' Images Emerge
A bombing in central Baghdad has killed at least 10 people and injured 21, as militant Islamists battle government forces north of the Iraqi capital.
The attack - a roadside bomb followed by a suicide bombing - was the first of three explosions in Baghdad that left at least 15 people dead and dozens injured.
Police said the suicide blast was carried out by an attacker wearing an explosive vest outside a shop selling military fatigues near Tahrir Square in the centre of the Iraqi capital.
The attacks came as a series of graphic pictures was posted on a militant website, appearing to show masked fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) massacring dozens of Iraqi soldiers they had captured.
The images seem to show the Sunni insurgents loading the captives onto flatbed trucks before forcing them to lie face-down in a shallow ditch with their arms tied behind their backs.
The final pictures show the bodies of the captives soaked in blood after being shot.
The captions on the photos say the killings were to avenge the killing of ISIS commander Abdul-Rahman al Beilawy, whose death was reported by both the government and ISIS shortly before the al Qaeda splinter group's lightning offensive.
Iraq's top military spokesman, Lieutenant General Qassim al Moussawi, confirmed the photos' authenticity and said he was aware of cases of mass murder of captured Iraqi soldiers in areas held by ISIS.
The pictures emerged amid claims that the militants had overrun Tal Afar - the largest town in north Iraq's Nineveh province that had not fallen to the offensive.
On Sunday an Iraq security spokesman said 279 "terrorists" have been killed in the last 24 hours.
Commanders say government forces have retaken two towns north of the capital.
They will be joined by a flood of volunteers, who have responded to a call to arms by the top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, to defend their country.
A recruitment centre for volunteers in Khales, central Iraq, came under mortar fire on Sunday.
Six people died, including three soldiers, police and a doctor, died.
Soldiers also found the burned bodies of 12 policemen as they recaptured the town of Ishaqi in Salaheddin province, a police colonel and doctor said.
The situation on the ground has been complicated by the territorial advances made by forces from the autonomous Kurdish region in the north, who are in control of the city of Kirkuk.
A senior official said Kurdish Peshmerga forces had taken one of two official border crossings with Syria earlier this week.
As the crisis continues, the US has deployed aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush to the Gulf.
Iran has warned that "any foreign military intervention" would complicate the crisis, while Germany warned of a potential "proxy war" in the region.
Meanwhile, the former UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, told AFP the international community's negligence of the conflict in neighbouring Syria was to blame.
Mr Brahimi said the international community "unfortunately neglected the Syrian problem and did not help to resolve it. This is the result".