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Security forces break siege of town in Iraq
Iraqi security forces on Sunday made a break through to the town of Amerli after more than two months of being sieged by the Islamic State militant group, security sources said.
"The security forces managed to break the siege of Amerli as well as several nearby villages," the military spokesman Lieutenant General Qasim Atta told reporters without elaboration.
"There have been mass escape from the terrorist gangs as our troops and volunteers were advancing toward Amerli, Atta said.
The security forces backed by thousands of Shiite militiamen and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters moved in the town of Amerli, some 90 km east of Salahudin's provincial capital of Tikrit, according to a provincial security source who told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Since the early hours of the day, the troops under U.S. and Iraqi air support fought fierce clashes with the Islamic State militants, an al-Qaida offshoot group, around the town and made their advance to the town from three directions by noon, the source said.
The troops have been fighting fierce clashes since Friday and have seized several areas surrounding the positions of the Islamic State militants who have been imposing more than two-month siege on Amerli, the source said in earlier report.
Separately, the security forces took control of a main road leading to the nearby town of Sulaiman Beg, which has been seized by the militants more than two months ago, the source said.
On Saturday, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir al-Zaiydi, the military commander of the security forces told reporters that would take "hours or no more than one or two days to break the siege of Amerli and open safe roads to relief the town's residents who are fighting to protect their town despite acute shortage of food and water for more than two months."
Salahudin province is a predominantly Sunni province and its capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, is the hometown of former President Saddam Hussein.
The security situation began to drastically deteriorate in Iraq on June 10, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and hundreds of Sunni militants, who took control of the country's northern city of Mosul and later seized swathes of territories after the Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.
[Source: Xinhua, Baghdad, 31Aug14]
War in Iraq
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