Officials: Clashes, bombing kill 17 soldiers north and south of Iraq's capital, Baghdad

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Authorities in Iraq say clashes and a suicide bombing have killed 17 soldiers in areas around the capital, Baghdad.

Hassan Fadaam, a member of the Babil provincial council, said Saturday that overnight clashes between security forces and Sunni militants in the town of Jurf al-Sakhar killed at least nine troops and dozens of militants.

Jurf al-Sakhar, located some 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the capital, is predominantly Sunni.

Meanwhile, police said a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a group of Iraqi soldiers in the town of Balad, north of the capital, killing eight soldiers and wounding 23.

A hospital official confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke said on condition of anonymity because they were authorized to brief journalists.