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At least 23 people have been killed in series of attacks on Iraqi cities

At least 23 people have died in a series of attacks on Iraqi cities, officials say.

Two car bombs in the predominantly Shia city of Kerbala are reported to have killed at least nine people.

Another car bomb near police headquarters in the northern city of Kirkuk killed six people, according to hospital sources.

The latest incidents come ahead of next week’s Arab League summit to be held in the capital, Baghdad.

Security forces in Iraq have been placed on high alert ahead of the summit.

The attacks also coincide with the ninth anniversary of the beginning of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

The summit is seen as the country’s debut on the regional stage following the withdrawal of US troops in December.

There are unconfirmed reports of blasts in the capital, Baghdad, and the city of Hilla.