30 killed in Iraq violence

Baghdad : At least 30 people were killed and 29 others wounded in clashes between security forces and Islamic State (IS) militants in western and eastern Iraq Wednesday, security sources said.

In Iraq’s western province of Anbar, battles continued between security forces backed by allied Sunni tribesmen and the anti-government Sunni tribes, including the IS group, near the provincial capital city of Ramadi and the militant-seized city of Fallujah, a provincial security source told Xinhua.

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Meanwhile, a suicide bomber around noon rammed his explosives-laden truck into an army checkpoint on the Albu Farraj bridge and blew it up north of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, leaving nine people dead and 11 others wounded, the source said.

Most of the victims were soldiers guarding the bridge which was partly damaged, the source added.

Separately, fierce clashes occurred between the Iraqi army and Sunni militants in al-Sichar area, just northwest of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, leaving 11 militants and four soldiers dead and four more soldiers wounded, the source said.

Anbar province has been the scene of an ongoing offensive launched Tuesday to recapture the cities of Anah, some 275 km northwest of Baghdad, and the nearby city of Rawa, which have been under the control of the insurgent militant groups since June, a provincial security source said.

The troops moved from their bases near the city of Haditha, some 200 km northwest of Baghdad, to the city of Anah before heading to Rawa, across the Euphrates river, the source added.

The troops’ advance have been slow and gradual as they push to seize the main roads leading to the cities, as the militants planted bombs and land mines in all roads and buildings leading to the cities of Anah and Rawa.

In Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala, clashes between security forces backed by Shia militias continued against the Sunni militants, including IS militants, in several areas across the province, a provincial security source told Xinhua.

Heavy clashes erupted during the day near the town of Mansouriyah, some 100 km northeast of Baghdad, leaving at least three IS militants dead and four militiamen and civilians wounded, the source said.

Separately, clashes between the IS militants and security forces broke out during the day near the town of Abu Sieda, some 90 km northeast of Baghdad, killing three civilians and wounding 10 others when the IS militants fired four mortar rounds on a residential area in the town, the source said.

The security situation began to drastically deteriorate in Iraq since June 10 when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and hundreds of IS 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.