30 killed in clashes with IS in Iraq's Anbar province

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A total of 30 people were killed and 47 others wounded on Thursday in clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's western province of Anbar, security source said.

Government security forces and allied militias, who were covered by Iraqi and U.S. coalition aircraft, repelled an IS attack in Nadhim al-Taqseem area north of the IS-held city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. At least six IS militants were killed and 10 others wounded, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

As the attackers withdrew, the security forces and the militias, known as Hashd Shaabi, or popular mobilization, chased them to al-Shieha area north of Fallujah, but five roadside bombs struck the troops' vehicles and a suicide bomber detonated his car bomb near them, killing at least 13 soldiers and wounding some 20 others, the source said.

Separately, Iraqi aircraft pounded the central part of the town of Heet, some 160 km west of Baghdad, leaving eight people dead and 13 others wounded, the source added.

In addition, army artillery shelled Albu Shejil area, just north of Fallujah, killing three and wounding four others, the source said.

The IS group has seized most of Anbar province and tried to advance towards Baghdad during the past few months, but several counter attacks by security forces and Shiite militias have pushed them back.

In Salahudin province, tug-of-war battles between troops and IS militants continued in the town of Baiji and near Iraq's largest oil refinery, as the troops fight to free the town from IS militants, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Also in the province, IS militants executed Jasim Mohammed al-Jubouri, a former candidate for Salahudin provincial council, near the IS-held town of Shirqat, some 280 km north of Baghdad, the source said.

The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June last year, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and IS militants. The IS took control of the country's northern city of Mosul and later seized swathes of territories after Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.

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