Baghdad: A total of 25 people were killed and five wounded in separate clashes between security forces and Sunni militant groups in Iraq Thursday, security sources said.
In the first incident, Iraqi aircraft carried out two air strikes on the Islamic State militant hideouts near an airport outside the town of Duluiyah, some 90 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, killing 15 militants and destroying five vehicles, a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
At least eight Islamic State militants were killed in fierce clashes with security forces in Udhiem town in the eastern province of Diyala, the source said.
Two civilians were killed and five others wounded in a mortar attack in the Saba al-Bour area, near Baghdad, an interior ministry source said.
Iraq has been plagued with violence since the US-led occupation in the country in 2003, but the situation has deteriorated dramatically when violence from the raging civil war in the neighboring Syria spilled over the country`s borders.
Islamic State, an Al Qaeda offshoot, fighting in Syria, has gained significant ground in Iraq, especially in the Sunni areas. Over a month Islamic State militants stunned the world when they stormed towns in the northern Iraq, seizing swathes of territory while continuing their advance on other parts of the country.
The fighting in Iraq has caused thousands to flee their homes, especially ethnic and religious minorities who have been targeted by the Islamist insurgents.