At least 12 people were killed on Saturday in two separate car bomb attacks in Baghdad targeting security forces, police sources said, adding that the death toll could rise.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts, which wounded a further 39 people, but Islamic State regularly carries out attacks in the Iraqi capital, including one on Friday at a Shi'ite Muslim mosque.

The larger of Saturday's bombs hit a security checkpoint in the northern al-Husseiniya district, killing nine. The second targeted an army convoy in Arab al-Jabour, an area of date palm groves on Baghdad's southern outskirts.

The Iraqi government has retaken several major cities from Islamic State in the past year and slowly pushed the militants back towards the Syrian border. Security has gradually improved in Baghdad, but bomb attacks against the security forces and Shi'ite residential or commercial areas are still a regular occurrence.

The rise of the ultra-hardline Sunni group, which is battling government forces over control of vast territory in northern and western Iraq, has exacerbated a long-running sectarian conflict, mostly between Shi'ites and Sunnis, that emerged after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.