21 killed in clashes, airstrikes in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- A total of 21 people were killed and 22 others injured on Thursday in airstrikes and clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's provinces of Anbar and Salahudin, security sources said.

In western province of Anbar, security forces and allied paramilitary militias, known as Hashd Shaabi, in al-Jeriyshi area in north of the IS-held provincial capital city of Ramadi, made an advance in the morning toward the city and fought heavy clashes with IS militants, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

During the battle, a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into the troops' vehicles in the desert area and blew it up, leaving six soldiers and allied militiamen killed and eight others wounded, the source said, adding that two army officers were among the killed.

The source did not give further details about the battle and the casualties among the IS sides.

Meanwhile, Iraqi aircraft carried out airstrikes on IS positions in Huseiba al-Sharqiyah area in east of Ramadi, which located some 110 km west of Iraqi capital of Baghdad, leaving seven IS militants killed, the source said citing intelligence reports.

Separately, five Hashd Shaabi militiamen were killed and 12 others wounded in clashes with IS militants in areas of Ibrahim Bin Ali and Albu-Khanfar, near the militant-seized town of Garma, some 40 km west of Baghdad, the source said.

Also in the province, three government-backed Sahwa paramilitary group members were killed and two others injured when a roadside bomb detonated near their vehicle in Barwana area near the town of Haditha, some 200 km northwest of Baghdad, the source added.

Iraqi security forces and allied militias have been fighting for months to retake control of key cities and towns in the largest province from IS militants, which seized most of Anbar and tried to advance toward Baghdad.

In Iraq's northern central province of Salahudin, two suicide bombers drove booby-trapped armored vehicle and a military Humvee and detonated into the headquarters of a federal police brigade in Jazira area in west of Samarra, a city located some 120 km north of Baghdad, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The source didn't provide information about casualties.

The predominantly Sunni province of Salahudin, which its Tikrit is the hometown of former President Saddam Hussein, has been the scene for deadly battles between the Iraqi security forces backed by paramilitary militias and IS militants who captured northern parts of the province following the June 10 blitzkrieg 2014 when the extremist group seized large swathes of territories in predominantly Sunni provinces.


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