34 killed in clashes with IS militants in Iraq

Baghdad, Aug 4 (IANS) Iraqi security forces on Monday continued clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants in the Iraqi province of Anbar, leaving a total of 34 people killed and 23 others wounded, a provincial security source said.

In Iraq’s western province of Anbar, fierce clashes erupted in the morning between IS militants and security forces backed by allied militias known as Hashd Shaabi (popular mobilisation) in Huseibah al-Sharqiyah area in east of the provincial capital city of Ramadi, leaving 11 IS militants and six security members killed, Xinhua reported citing a security source.

Separately, seven policemen were killed and four others injured in a clash with IS militants in Abu Flies area, just east of Ramadi, which is located some 110 km west of Baghdad.

Five people were killed and eight injured in an air strike by an Iraqi helicopter on suspected IS positions near the town of Khaldiyah, some 80 km west of the Iraqi capital city.

Another helicopter gunship pounded al-Nassaf area near the IS-held city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, leaving three people killed and six others wounded, a secuirty source said.

Also in the province, a mortar barrage by IS militants hit the town of Ameriyat al-Fallujah, some 40 km west of Baghdad, killing two Sunni anti-IS tribal fighters and wounding five others, he added.

On July 13, the Iraqi authorities announced the start of a major offensive against IS militants to free key cities and towns in the largest province of Iraq 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 Anbar since the IS militants seized most of it and tried to advance toward Baghdad, but several counter attacks by security forces and Shia militias have pushed them back.

The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June 10 last year, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and the IS.

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