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On Monday, Interior Ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Saad Maan Ibrahim, told a press conference that Iraqi security forces killed 56 “terrorists” and wounded 21 in operations just outside the capital over the last 24 hours. He made no mention of Tal Afar and left without taking any questions.

Security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad also was strengthened and some staff members were sent elsewhere in Iraq and to neighboring Jordan, the State Department said Sunday.

The State Department also issued a travel warning for Iraq on Sunday night, which cautioned U.S. citizens to avoid “all but essential travel to Iraq.” The warning said the Baghdad International Airport was “struck by mortar rounds and rockets” and the international airport in Mosul also has been targeted.

However, a senior Baghdad airport official, Saad al-Khafagi, denied that the facility or surrounding areas have been hit. State-run Iraqiya television also denied the attack, quoting the Ministry of Transport.

Associated Press writers Matthew Lee in Washington and George Jahn in Vienna contributed to this report.