22 IS militants killed in airstrikes, clashes in Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-14 03:36:24|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BAGHDAD, June 13 (Xinhua) -- A total of 22 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Tuesday in airstrikes on IS desert stronghold and clashes with Iraqi security forces in central Iraq, an official and a security sources said.

The Iraqi warplanes carried out airstrikes on the main IS desert redoubt in Mteibijah area, which is on the provincial border between Iraq's eastern province of Diyala and the northern central province of Salahudin, Udai al-Khadran, the mayor of al-Khalis town and a leading figure in the predominantly Shiite paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units told Xinhua.

The airstrikes left some 20 IS militants killed and five of their vehicles destroyed, including one booby-trapped, al-Khadran said.

In Salahudin province, the security forces repelled two attacks by IS militants from two directions around the town of Seniyah, just west of the oil refinery town of Baiji, some 200 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a source from Salahudin's provincial Operations Command told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

After hours of sporadic heavy clashes, the attackers were forced to withdraw, leaving two of their fighters killed. Three security members were also killed in the attacks, the source said.

The desert near Seniyah is part of a sprawling rugged area that extends from the western part of Salahudin province to the desert in the neighboring Anbar province, and also extends from the eastern part of Salahudin province to the IS redoubt in Mteibijah on the provincial border with Diyala province.

The airstrikes and the clashes came as Iraqi security forces, backed by the anti-IS international coalition, were simultaneously conducting a major offensive to dislodge IS militants from their major stronghold in western Mosul in northern Iraq.