BAGHDAD, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Monday repelled two attacks by Islamic State (IS) militants targeting a town and an oilfield in the provinces of Anbar and Salahudin respectively, provincial security sources said.
In the western province of Anbar, security forces and allied Sunni tribal units fought back an IS attack on the town of Rutba, some 370 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a provincial source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Rutba, on the Baghdad-Amman international road, taken by the IS in 2014, was recaptured but the security forces on May 16.
The attack began in the early morning, when dozens of IS militants with two suicide car bombs and three suicide bombers wearing explosive vests attacked the town from four directions.
They were repelled by the troops, leaving at least nine militants killed, in addition to the three suicide bombers.
The two suicide car bombs were destroyed before reaching their targets, the source said without giving further details about the casualties among the security forces and allied tribal fighters.
Also in Anbar province, security forces and allied Sunni tribal paramilitary units, backed by coalition warplanes, recaptured Doulab area west of the newly-freed city of Heet, some 160 km west of Baghdad, after two days of battles with IS militants, the source said.
According to the source, 50 IS militants were killed in the fighting in Doulab.
Government troops and allied militias have been fighting for months to reclaim key cities and towns from IS militants in the province of Anbar, including Ramadi and Fallujah, as militants attempted to approach Baghdad after seizing most of the province.
Also on Monday, in Iraq's northern central province of Salahudin, IS militants carried out an overnight attack on the positions of security forces and allied paramilitary units, known as Hashd Shaabi, in Allas oilfield in eastern the province, but the troops repelled the attack after Iraqi aircraft intervened in the morning.
At least seven IS militants and three policemen and four Hashd Shaabi members were killed, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The battles in Salahudin province came as security forces tried to free the towns of Shirqat and Qayyara as part of a major offensive aimed at liberating the last major IS stronghold in Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad.
Iraq has witnessed worsening violence since the IS took control of parts of its northern and western regions in June 2014.
Many blame the current chronic instability, cycle of violence, and the emergence of extremist groups, such as the IS, on the U.S. that invaded and occupied Iraq in March 2003 under the pretext of seeking to destroy weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the country.
The war led to the ouster and eventual execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, but no WMD was found.