Car bomb in Iraq's former IS stronghold kills 2
The explosion took placed in the former Islamic State stronghold, about 80 km (50 miles) west of Mosul, which has since 2003 experienced cycles of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shias after the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Tal Afar has more recently produced some of IS’ most senior commanders after the militant group overran swathes of Iraq’s north in 2014.
Some 200,000 residents live in the city, which fell to Iraqi Security Forces backed by the US-led coalition, in August 2017. It was the last area to be retaken in the north before fighting moved to the Syrian border.
At its height in 2014, the IS group held around a third of territory in Syria and Iraq, including major cities like Mosul and Raqqa.
In the year since Iraq's government declared its own victory against the group, IS militants have mounted increasingly audacious attacks on roads and villages in the country, kidnapping and killing civilians and security officers and sewing fear of a brewing resurgence.
More than 1.8 million Iraqis remain displaced across the country, and a staggering 8 million require some form of humanitarian aid, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council. Those with suspected links to IS have been rejected by their communities, while thousands of children fathered by IS militants - including those born to enslaved Yazidi women - are still unrecognised by the state.
Nearly two-thirds of displaced people say they are unwilling or unable to return home in the next year, with more than half saying their homes were damaged or destroyed, said the aid group.
Agencies contributed to this report.
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