Iraqi forces recapture IS-held territories in Salahudin province

Baghdad, Jan 15 (IANS) Iraqi security forces on Thursday recaptured territories seized earlier in the day by Islamic State (IS) militants in Salahudin province, security sources said.

At least 30 IS militants were killed in the fighting, when government troops and allied paramilitary units retook the areas of Tal Gseiba and al-Madad, some 30 km east of the provincial capital city of Tikrit, Xinhua quoted Jasim al-Jbara, head of security committee of Salahudin provincial council, as saying.

Earlier in the day, a provincial security source said that the extremist group carried out a major attack at dawn from their positions in Makhoul mountain range and advanced in several routes to capture a large area from Fat’ha in the northern part of the province to Tal Gseiba and al-Madad, and cut the strategic road between Tikrit and the city of Kirkuk.

Elsewhere, IS militants also attacked the towns of Seiniyah, north of Tikrit, and Mkeishifa, south of the provincial capital, but were pushed back, the security source said on condition of anonymity.

The latest IS advance forced dozens of families to leave their homes and head to the town of Alam, just near Tikrit, which is located some 170 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the source added.

The mosques in Alam called on residents to take up their arms and prepare to defend their town and families from possible IS attacks.

Meanwhile, local authorities in the town of Dowr, southeast of Tikrit, imposed a curfew and put its police and tribal fighters on alert for possible IS attacks.

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