Baghdad, June 16 (IANS) At least 71 people were killed on Monday in US-led coalition airstrikes and clashes between the Iraqi security forces and militants of Islamic State (IS) group in the provinces of Anbar, Nineveh and Salahudin, authorities said.
In Anbar province, the security forces and allied militias, known as Hashd Shaabi, or popular mobilisation, attacked a convoy of IS vehicles in Houran area of Iraq’s western desert and destroyed three tankers carrying fuel and two vehicles, the Iraqi ministry of defence said in a statement.
The attack, which was based on intelligence reports, also left at least 10 IS militants killed, the statement added, according to Xinhua.
Also in the province, the security forces and allied militias repelled an IS attack on Jubba area near the town of Baghdadi, some 200 km northwest of Baghdad, killing 13 militants and destroying weapons and equipment of the attackers.
The army artillery also pounded the IS positions during the battle in Jubba, leaving at least eight IS militants killed, it said.
In addition, six soldiers were killed and seven others wounded in mortar barrage by IS militants on an army base outside the IS-held city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, a provincial security source said.
In Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh, the international aircraft carried out an airstrike on an IS base at a village near the town of Qaiyara, some 50 km south of the provincial capital city of Mosul, leaving four militants killed and three others wounded, Mohammed al-Baiyati, head of security committee of the provincial council, said.
The US-led warplanes also pounded a 10-vehicle convoy of the radical group near Qaiyara, destroying the vehicles and killing dozens of militants aboard, said Baiyati, whose council and executive administration work as government in exile outside the IS-held areas in Nineveh province.
The warplanes also pounded IS positions at a village near the town of Hammam al-Alil, some 25 km south of Mosul, leaving unknown number of IS militants killed, Baiyati added.
In the afternoon, the US-led coalition warplanes bombarded the IS headquarters at Nederly village near the militant-seized town of Tal Afar, some 70 km west of Mosul, killing six militants, including two group leaders, and wounding eight militants, Baiyati said.
In Iraq’s northern central province of Salahudin, the security forces and Hashd Shaabi militias repelled attacks by dozens of IS militants with suicide bombers driving four tanker truck bombs on the oil fields of Allas and Ajil in east of the provincial capital city of Tikrit.
The troops destroyed the suicide truck bombs by anti-tank guided missiles before they reached their targets. Three more vehicles carrying weapons and ammunition were bombed, killing 24 militants.
The small Ajil oil field used to be an important source of funding for the IS, which extracted about 10,000 barrels per day and transported to others areas under its control.
The two oil fields, Allas and Ajil, were seized by IS militants following the June 10 blitzkrieg when the group seized large swathes of territories in predominantly Sunni provinces, but the oil fields were freed by the Iraqi forces in March.
The IS militants attacked Tal Abu Jrad area in east of the town of Baiji, some 200 km north of Baghdad, but the troops and allied militias repelled the attack, leaving at least four IS militants and two security members killed.
Sporadic clashes between the security forces and IS militants continued in Baiji and the nearby oil refinery, while some of the troops were moving toward the nearby IS-seized town of Seiniyah, some 10 km west of Baiji, a source said.
Also in Salahudin, at least 100 displaced families returned to their homes in Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, about two months after the security forces and Hashd Shaabi militias freed the city from the IS militants, Ahmed al-Kraiym, head of the provincial council, said.
Since March 2, the security forces backed by dozens of thousands of allied Shia and Sunni militias have been involved in Iraq’s biggest offensive to recapture the northern part of Salahudin province, including Tikrit and other key towns and villages, from IS militants.
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.