Baghdad: The Iraqi defence ministry Monday denied the reported presence of Islamic State (IS) militants in Abu Ghraib area near Baghdad international airport, stressing that security is under control.
"The reports about (IS militants) seizing Abu Ghraib area are not true," Qasim Atta, a defence ministry official said. "Life is normal in the town of Abu Ghraib."
Abu Ghraib, some 25 km west of Iraq's capital Baghdad, is just northwest of Baghdad international airport. It is part of a volatile Sunni Arab area west of Baghdad that stretches through Anbar province to Iraq's western borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Atta was responding to recent foreign media reports that clashes have been going on for more than a week between Iraqi security forces and IS militants, who are advancing toward the Iraqi capital, Xinhua reported.
The reports also said that militants were armed with shoulder-borne anti-aircraft missiles that could threaten planes flying in and out of Baghdad airport.
The security situation in the west of Baghdad has been deteriorating, especially since December when fierce clashes flared up after police dismantled an anti-government protest site outside Ramadi.