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U.S.-led airstrikes, clashes kill 73 in Iraq
A total of 73 people were killed on Sunday in U.S.-led airstrikes across Iraq and clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants in the country's western province of Anbar, a statement and a provincial security source said.
The international coalition aircraft carried out 16 airstrikes targeting different areas in Iraq, leaving up to 42 people dead and destroying some 43 IS positions, weapon warehouses and four vehicles, a statement by a military media cell said.
Moreover, Iraqi warplanes and army helicopter gunships carried out a total of 37 airstrikes in different areas in Iraq targeting IS positions, the statement added without giving further details about IS casualties.
On the ground in Anbar province, Iraqi security forces and allied militias, known as Hashd Shaabi, continued their clashes with the extremist militants around the IS-held cities and towns, and defused dozens of roadside bombs planted by IS militants to hamper the advance of the troops, the statement added.
Meanwhile, a provincial security source told Xinhua that Major General Qasim al-Muhamdi of Operations Command in Anbar province was wounded in an IS mortar barrage in north of the provincial capital city of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad.
Muhamdi was visiting his troops and allied militias who were fighting the IS militants in Albu-Eitha area, just outside Ramadi, the source said.
Separately, security forces and Hashd Shaabi militiamen fought fierce clashes with IS militants in the areas of Twai and Albu Jleib in northwest of Ramadi, leaving 18 security members dead and 30 others wounded, along with destroying seven military vehicles by ambushes of roadside bombs, the source said.
At least 13 IS militants were also killed and eight others injured in the clashes, the source said.
On July 13, the Iraqi authorities announced a major offensive against IS militants to free key cities and towns in the largest province of Anbar province from IS militants.
Iraqi security forces and allied Hashd Shaabi paramilitary militias have been fighting for months to retake control of key cities and towns in Iraq's largest province of Anbar since the IS militants seized most of it and tried to advance toward capital Baghdad, but several counter attacks by security forces and Shiite militias have pushed them back.
The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June 10 in 2014, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and the IS group.
[Source: Xinhua, Baghdad, 23Aug15]
War in Iraq
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