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Security forces advance against IS in Iraq
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 1/1/2015 12:00:00 AM

Baghdad : Iraqi security forces Thursday recaptured some villages in northern and north central Iraq from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group and repelled their attacks in western parts of the country, security sources said.

In Nineveh province, Iraqi security forces and Kurdish forces, known as Peshmerga, backed by allied Sunni tribesmen, freed four villages near the town of Makhmour in southeast of the provincial capital city Mosul, an official from the Iraqi defence ministry told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The battles near Makhmour are part of the troops' major offensive Wednesday, which was supported in the air by the Iraqi and US-led coalition aircraft, the source said.

In Salahudin province, the security forces, backed by Shia militiamen and allied Sunni tribesmen, freed three villages near the town of Mu'tasim, just south of the city of Samarra, after fierce clashes with the IS militants, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity, without giving further details about casualties.

The battles south of Samarra came a day after the troops retook full control of the town of Dhuluiyah, some 90 km north of Baghdad, after days of heavy clashes with the extremist militants.

Salahudin is a predominantly Sunni province and its capital Tikrit is the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein.

In Anbar province, security forces and Sunni tribal fighters, backed by aircraft, repelled IS attacks from three directions on the town of al-Baghdadi, a provincial security source said.

The troops fought back and killed at least 10 militants, including one of their leaders, while the Iraqi and the US-led aircraft carried out airstrikes on the IS positions, destroying many of their vehicles and militants, the source said.

Also in the province, heavy clashes are under way after IS militants carried out attacks on the al-Habbaniyah airport near the city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad. The battles are concentrated on the hills around the fortified airport, the source said.

The IS militants apparently are trying to cut the main road between the battlefields in the town of Ameriyat al-Fallujah, some 40 km west of Baghdad, and the provincial capital city of Ramadi, the source added.

There is no immediate report about casualties among the Iraqi forces and the IS militants, he said.

For months, Anbar province has been the scene of fierce clashes between IS militants and security forces. The latter has gained support from some of the local Sunni tribes who rejected the presence of the extremist IS group.

Security in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June 10, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and IS militants. The latter later took control of the country's northern city of Mosul and seized swathes of territories in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.

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Security forces advance against IS in Iraq

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