Baghdad, June 6 (IANS) Iraqi security forces on Saturday repelled attacks by the Islamic State (IS) militants, including suicide car bombers, in the western province of Anbar, security sources said.
The troops and allied militias, known as Hashd Shaabi or Popular Mobilisation, were backed by US-led coalition aircraft, Xinhua reported.
They thwarted an IS attack in Nadhim al-Taqseem area, north of the city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, killing 17 IS militants and destroyed four suicide car bombs, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said in a statement.
Separately, IS militants attacked the government-held town of Husaiba al-Sharqiyah in the early morning, but after hours of clashes with security forces and Iraqi aircraft, the attackers retreated leaving behind seven militants killed and three of their vehicles destroyed.
Also on Saturday, extremist IS militants pounded Habbaniyah military airbase with mortar rounds, killing three soldiers and wounding eight others, the source said.
The violence in Anbar came more than a week after Iraqi security forces and allied militias commenced a military offensive that aimed at driving out the IS militants from Ramadi, after the militants drove security forces out of their positions there in mid-May and took full control of the town.
The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since last June, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and IS militants.