Iraqi troops retake control of town from ISIS

Iraqi security forces Sunday retook control of a town seized by the Islamic State (IS), as the US carried out air strikes against the Sunni militant group, a security official said.

IANS| Updated: Sep 08, 2014, 00:51 AM IST

Baghdad: Iraqi security forces Sunday retook control of a town seized by the Islamic State (IS), as the US carried out air strikes against the Sunni militant group, a security official said.

Iraqi forces also seized large areas around the besieged city of Haditha in Anbar province, Xinhua quoted interior ministry spokesperson Saad Maan as saying in Baghdad.

"Security forces backed by local tribesmen began a wide-scale offensive to clear the areas around Haditha from the gangs of Daash (Arabic first letters of the IS)," Maan said.

He said the troops retook control of Barwana town, east of Haditha, and seized several nearby villages after fierce clashes with the militants.

Earlier, Abdul-Hakim al-Jughaifi, the mayor of the city, some 200 km west of Baghdad, said dozens of Al Jughaifi Sunni tribals in Haditha teamed up with security forces backed by Iraqi and US aircraft to launch a major offensive against IS near Haditha.

According to the mayor, the troops fought fierce clashes to enter Barwana, while military operations were underway to seize the towns of Alous, Khafajiyah and several villages in the area.

The official Iraqiya television reported that Ahmed al-Dulaimi, the governor of Anbar, was wounded in Barwana, while he was visiting the forces.

Dulaimi was receiving treatment at a hospital in Anbar, an official from his office said.

The offensive came as US warplanes carried out a series of air strikes on IS close to Iraq's second largest dam near Haditha.

Since June, the most powerful Al Jughaifi tribe in Haditha managed to fight back IS and prevented them from seizing their city and the nearby dam on the Euphrates river.

The US air strikes are the first in the Sunni heartland in western Iraq and were aimed at supporting the Iraqi forces and Sunni tribesmen in control of the dam.

Earlier, US aircraft carried out air strikes to support the Peshmerga Kurdish forces as they try to halt the advance of the IS militants in the country's north.

The security situation began to drastically deteriorate in Iraq June 10 when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and hundreds of Sunni militants, who took control of the city of Mosul and later seized swathes of territories after the Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.