BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 5 – Iraqi security forces repelled multiple suicide car bomb attacks by the Islamic State (IS) militants, while clashes with the extremist group continued in the provinces of Salahudin and Anbar, security source said.
In Iraq’s northern central province of Salahudin, the security forces and allied militias, known as Hashd Shaabi, or Popular Mobilisation, shot dead four suicide bombers wearing explosive vests, who tried to approach the troops positions in Fat’ha area in the east of the IS-held town of Baiji, some 200 km north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, a provincial security source said.
Meanwhile, the troops continued their heavy clashes with IS militants at the edge of Baiji, but their advance was slow by the sporadic huge suicide bomb attacks, the source said.
So far, the troops attacked Baiji from several directions and managed to free the industrial district just outside the town, while tit-for-tat battles continued between the IS militants and the security forces at the bank of the Tigris River in east of Baiji, the source said.
In addition, the troops and Hashd Shaabi fighters clashed with the extremist militants in Iraq’s largest oil refinery, just north of Baiji, most of which is under IS control, the source added.
The battles in Baiji and the nearby oil refinery came four days after the town’s mayor, Mohammed Hammed, said that the troops freed several villages outside the town and were preparing to recapture it.
Also in the province, the security forces and allied militias halted their offensive launched on Wednesday, in the west of the city of Samarra, some 120 km north of Baghdad, after the troops faced fierce resistance by the extremist militants, the source said.
The offensive in west of Samarra was designed to secure the vast area in west of Samarra and to recapture the strategic desert roads leading to the militant-seized city of Fallujah in the neighbouring Anbar province.
Since Mar 2, thousands of allied Shiite and Sunni militias have been involved in Iraq’s biggest offensive to recapture the northern part of Salahudin province, including Tikrit and other key towns and villages, from IS militants.
In Anbar province, Iraqi soldiers repelled two suicide attacks by two military Humvees packed with explosives on an army base near Tharthar Lake in east of the Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, a provincial security source said.
The first booby-trapped Humvee went off near the outer defence line, leaving two soldiers killed and six others wounded, but the second attacker was hit by an anti-tank guided missile before reaching his target, the source said.
Separately, the IS militants attacked military bases in the desert area in the north of Fallujah, leaving 17 soldiers and Hashd Shaabi fighters killed and eight others wounded, the source said without giving further details.
Four soldiers were killed and nine others wounded in mortar barrage by the IS militants on al-Mazraa army camp in east of Fallujah, the source said.
Also in the province, six government-backed Sahwa Sunni paramilitary fighters were killed and four others wounded in mortar barrage on their base in the town of Barwana near the city of Haditha, some 200 km north-west of Baghdad, the source added.
The violence in Anbar came more than a week after Iraqi security forces and allied militias commenced a military offensive aimed at driving out the IS militants from Ramadi, which the militants took full control of on May 17, after Iraqi security forces withdrew from their positions.
In Baghdad, a booby-trapped car detonated in the industrial area in Baiyaa district in the southern part of the capital, leaving two people killed and seven others injured, an Interior Ministry source said.