Iraqi troops repel IS attacks in grabs of key positions

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 13, 2016
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A total of 21 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Sunday in clashes with security forces and airstrikes by Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition aircraft, security and medical sources said.

In Iraq's northern central province of Salahudin, dozens of IS militants carried out two attacks at dawn: one on the positions of security forces in Fat'ha area, and another on the positions of paramilitary units in the oil fields of Allas in east of Tikrit, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The troops in both areas fought back the attackers and forced them to withdraw after killing a total of seven IS militants and wounding at least 13 others, along with destroying a vehicle carrying heavy machine gun, the source said, adding that two security members were killed and five others wounded by the clashes.

The attacks came a day after similar offensives by IS group on Allas and nearby Ajil oil fields as well as Makhoul mountain in north of Tikrit, which were also repelled by the troops.

The predominated Sunni Arab province of Salahudin has been the scene of a major offensive by Iraqi security forces and Hashd Shaabi units, which managed to retake control of key towns of the province from the hands of IS militants who seized large part of it in June 2014.

In Iraq's western province of Anbar, six IS militants, including three non-Iraqi Arabs, were killed and 14 others wounded in airstrikes by Iraqi and international warplanes on IS positions in Falahat area in west of the IS-held city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, a medical source from Fallujah hospital anonymously told Xinhua.

Also in Anbar province, army helicopter gunships bombarded an IS vehicle repair workshop in Jazira area in east of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, destroying the workshop and killing eight extremist militants, a provincial security source told Xinhua.

Iraqi security forces have been fighting IS militants to retake control of large swaths of territories in northern and western Iraq which the extremist group seized since June 2014.

The troops regained Ramadi, the provincial capital of the country's largest province Anbar in December last year, and are fighting to recapture the rest of the vast province while preparing for a major offensive on the militant-seized city of Mosul, the second largest city in northern Iraq.

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