The Latest: Libyan ex-minister killed fighting IS in Sirte

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The Latest on the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq, Libya and Syria (all times local):

12:00 a.m.

Libyan media officials say a former minister was among the 15 militia fighters killed while trying to push toward the center of the Islamic State group stronghold of Sirte in central Libya.

Ahmed Hadiya, head of the media center of the anti-IS operation room, said Thursday that some IS fighters were shaving off their beards and long hair in order to flee the central Libyan city under cover.

The fight against IS in Sirte, which has been led by militiamen from the coastal city of Misrata, has intensified in recent weeks. Libyan forces said Wednesday that they had advanced deep inside the IS-held city.

Abdel-Rahman al-Kissa, a former minister of martyrs, was among those killed.


10:00 a.m.

Iraqi officials say a car bombing in a commercial area of a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad has killed at least 15 civilians.

A police officer says Thursday's explosion in the district of New Baghdad in the Iraqi capital also wounded up to 35 civilians. He says that the explosives-laded car was parked in a crowded area and that the casualty figures could be higher.

A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief the press.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The Islamic State, a Sunni extremist group, often targets Iraq's Shiite majority. The Iraqi capital has seen near-daily attacks in recent weeks.