Baghdad: At least 40 people were killed on Thursday in clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants and airstrikes by Iraqi and US-led coalition aircraft in the Iraqi provinces of Anbar and Salahudin, a government statement and provincial security sources said.
In the western province of Anbar, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden truck near the security forces and allied militias known as Hashd Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) in Haiyakil area, just south of the IS-held city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Iraq`s capital Baghdad, leaving at least seven security personnel and militiamen dead and nine others wounded, a provincial security source told Xinhua mnews agency.
Separately, the security forces and Hashd Shaabi militias fought fierce battles with the IS militants in areas northwest of Baghdad near the IS-held town of Garma, some 40 km west of Baghdad, killing 14 militants along with destroying some of their positions and a vehicle carrying a heavy machine gun, said a statement from the Baghdad Operations Command (BOC).
The battles northwest of Baghdad are part of an offensive led by Baghdad command designed to drive out the extremist militants who from time to time approach Baghdad from the areas located east of the militants-seized town of Garma.
Meanwhile, international warplanes carried out an airstrike on an IS position near Garma, leaving at least 10 militants dead, a provincial security source said citing intelligence report.
Also in the province, an Iraqi Sukhoi Su-25 jet pounded a building said to be a bomb factory in the industrial district in Fallujah, destroying the building and killing six extremist militants, the source added.
The IS group has seized most of Anbar province and tried to advance towards Baghdad during the past few months, but several counter attacks by security forces and Shia militias have pushed them back.
In Salauhdin province, heavy clashes erupted in the morning when IS militants attacked positions of federal police in Laiyn area west of the city of Samarra, some 120 km north of Baghdad, leaving three policemen dead and wounding seven others, a provincial security source told Xinhua without giving further details about casualties among the extremist militants.
The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June 10, 2014, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and IS militants.