Baghdad, July 7 (IANS) At least 25 people were killed and some 50 others wounded in clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants and suicide bomb attacks across Iraq on Tuesday, security sources said.
In Iraq’s western province of Anbar, at least eight IS militants were killed and some 20 others wounded in fierce clashes with Iraqi security forces backed by allied militias known as Hashd Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) around the Sunni town of Saqlawiyah north of the IS-held city of Fallujah, a provincial security source told Xinhua news agency.
The clashes near Saqlawiyah are part of a battle that broke out the day before when the security forces and allied militiamen advanced to free Saqlawiyah and nearby Sheiha area from IS militants, but were confronted with fierce resistance when suicide bombers rammed their explosives-laden vehicles into the troops’ positions and blew them up.
Also in the province, heavy clashes erupted between IS militants and troops in Haqlaniyah area, some 200 km northwest of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, the source said without giving further details.
The clashes in Haqlaniyah came one day after bloody fighting when IS militants attacked Haqlaniyah area with four suicide car bombers.
The nearby area was also the scene of deadly attacks when the IS militants carried out a wave of six suicide car bombings on a strategic dam near the town of Haditha but was thwarted by the security forces and allied Sunni tribal fighters.
The IS militants repeatedly carried out attacks to seize the key dam near Haditha on the Euphrates river but were repelled by the troops and local Jughaifi Sunni tribesmen.
In addition, an army rocket barrage struck a vehicle bomb factory in the industrial area in the militant-seized city of Fallujah, leaving seven IS militants dead, including a group leader, the source said citing intelligence reports.
Earlier in the day, a security source from Iraq’s northern central province of Salahudin told Xinhua that a total of 10 security personnel were killed and 30 others wounded in three suicide car bomb attacks against Iraqi security forces in the town of Baiji, some 200 km north of Baghdad.
Separately, sporadic clashes continued in Iraq’s largest oil refinery near Baiji, as the security forces fought to drive IS militants out of the refinery.
Since March 2, Iraqi security forces and thousands of allied Shia and Sunni militias have been involved in Iraq’s biggest offensive in order to recapture the northern part of Salahudin province from IS militants.
The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June 10, 2014, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and IS militants.