A total of 143 people were killed on Sunday in the ongoing clashes between the Iraqi security forces and insurgent militants, including the Islamic State (IS), an al- Qaida offshoot, in Iraq, security sources said.
In Iraq?s western province of Anbar, Iraqi security forces backed by allied tribesmen and warplanes in the morning repelled attacks by insurgent militants, including IS militant group, on the town of Ameriyat al-Fallujah, some 40 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The extremist militants carried out the attacks on the town from two directions in the early hours of the day, the source said, adding that the battles left at least 16 IS militants and six security members killed.
Separately, at least 11 IS militants were killed and one of their vehicles carrying heavy machine gun was destroyed in air strikes believed to be carried out by U.S. and French warplanes on the militants positions in and near the town of Garma, just east of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, the source said.
Also in the province, the security forces backed by allied tribesmen and warplanes carried out an offensive against the positions of IS militants and cleared four villages in east of the provincial capital city of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, leaving 18 IS militants killed, including two foreign militants, the source added.
The aircraft destroyed eight of the militants? vehicles carrying weapons, while the troops seized two caches of weapons and ammunition, he said.
Meanwhile, Major General Ahmed Saddag al-Dulaimi, the provincial police chief, told reporters that the security forces and allied tribesmen killed 82 IS militants in separate clashes in south and north of Ramadi during the day.
In Iraq?s eastern province of Diyala, battles continued between the security forces backed by Shiite militias and the IS militants near al-Sudour Dam, some 110 km northeast of Baghdad, leaving at least six insurgent militants killed and destroying three of their vehicles, carrying heavy machine guns, while a policeman and a Shiite militiaman from Asa?ib Ahl al-Haq were killed and two soldiers wounded, a provincial police source said.
The Shiite militia of Asa?ib Ahl al-Haq, or League of the Righteous, is said to be a splintered group from the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr?s Mahdi Army. They are part of what the U.S. and Iraqi officials earlier named Special Groups, who are allegedly funded, trained and armed by Iran?s Quds Force during the U.S. occupation of Iraq and later became allied to the Shiite- led government in Baghdad.
The security situation began to drastically deteriorate in Iraq since June 10 when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and hundreds of Islamic State 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.