A triple car bombing on a market killed at least 23 people Thursday in a town recently retaken from the Islamic State group near the jihadists final stronghold of Mosul, Iraqs army said.

"A terrorist attack in the form of three car bombs at a market in Gogjali killed 15 civilians and eight police," a coordination centre for forces battling IS said in a statement.

IS claimed the attack, which the group said was carried out by three suicide bombers.

Gogjali, a few kilometres (miles) east of Mosul, was retaken by pro-government forces on November 1, several weeks into a massive operation to recapture the last Iraqi city still under IS control.

Iraq's elite counter-terrorism service punched into Mosul from the east, but progress has since slowed and the battle is far from over.

Human Rights Watch has accused IS of targeting civilians trying to flee the violence with mortars, explosives and gunfire.