27 killed in clashes, air strikes against IS militants in Iraq

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A total of 27 people were killed and 14 wounded on Wednesday in air strikes and separate clashes against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's western province of Anbar, a provincial security source said.

Heavy clashes erupted in the morning in Jubba area, just near the town of Haditha, some 200 km northwest of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, when Iraqi troops and allied paramilitary Sunni militiamen, covered by Iraqi helicopter gunships, attacked the positions of IS militants, leaving at least 12 extremist militants killed and destroying five of their vehicles along with blowing up a booby-trapped Shovel truck, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Also near Haditha, the security forces and allied militias known as Hashd Shaabi, or popular mobilization, carried out an attack on IS posts in Albu Haiyat area, just east of Haditha, but were confronted with stubborn resistance which left six troops and militiamen killed and nine others wounded, the source said.

U.S.-led coalition's warplanes intervened in Albu Haiyat battle and carried out air strikes against the extremist militants, leaving five militants killed and 13 others wounded, the source added.

Separately, dozens of IS militants attacked the positions of the security forces and Hashd Shaabi in north of the battleground town of Saqlawiyah, just north of the IS-held city of Fallujah, which located some 50 km west of Baghdad, leaving four soldiers killed and two Hashd Shaabi militiamen wounded, the source said.

On July 13, the Iraqi authorities announced the start of a major offensive against IS militants to free key cities and towns in Iraq's largest province of Anbar province from IS militants.

Iraqi security forces and allied Hashd Shaabi paramilitary militias have been fighting for months to retake control of key cities and towns in Iraq's largest province of Anbar since the IS militants seized most of it and tried to advance toward capital Baghdad.

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