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Iraqi forces repel fierce attacks by IS militants in Salahudin
Iraqi security forces repelled an attack by Islamic State (IS) militants in the province of Salahudin Wednesday, a provincial security source said.
Furthermore, in the same province, four people were killed in separate bomb and gunfire attacks.
Dozens of IS militants attacked security forces posts along with those of allied paramilitary Shiite units, known as Hashd Shaabi, in the area of Zargah, 50 km east of the provincial capital city of Tikrit, seizing some of the military posts following heavy clashes, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The troops regained control of the military posts following four hours of fierce clashes however, driving out the extremist militants towards the nearby Himreen Mountain, after additional troops arrived and launched a counter-attack covered by Iraqi aircraft, the source said.
The battles in Zargah resulted in the death of 25 IS militants, including seven who were wearing explosive vests, and the destruction of two car bombs, whilst at least five security members were killed and 19 others wounded, added the source.
Elsewhere, two Hashd Shaabi members were killed and three others wounded in a roadside bomb explosion near their patrol area in Albu Khaddo in south of Tikrit, 170 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the source said.
Also in the same province, a civilian was killed and three others wounded when an unidentified gunmen opened fire towards a group of people as they left a mosque after the dawn prayer in the ethnically mixed town of Tuz-Khurmato, 90 km east of Tikrit, the source added.
The attacks in Salahudin come as Iraqi security forces and allied Hashd Shaabi units undertake operations to drive out IS militants from the north of the province, including the IS-held town of Shirqat, 280 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the source said.
The operations in the province of Salahudin are part of a major offensive to free areas in southern Mosul, including the town of Qayyara, so as to surround Mosul from the south and east, before attacking major IS strongholds in Mosul to flush out IS militants from the city, 400 km north of Baghdad.
Iraq has witnessed intense violence since the IS controlled parts of its northern and western regions in June of 2014.
[Source: Xinhua, Tikrit, 22Jun16]
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