10 security members killed in IS attacks in Iraq's Salahudin province

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-16 18:02:39|Editor: Zhou Xin
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TIKRIT, Iraq, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- At least ten security members were killed on Wednesday in three attacks by Islamic State (IS) militants on military bases in Iraq's northern central province of Salahudin, a provincial security source told Xinhua.

In one of the attacks, six suicide bombers wearing explosive vests carried out a pre-dawn attack on military bases of the federal police in the town of Baiji, some 200 km north of Baghdad, sparking heavy clashes for several hours, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The clashes resulted in the killing of nine policemen and four suicide bombers, the source said, adding that the clashes continued to midday as the policemen were still fighting two suicide bombers near a police headquarters in the town.

IS terrorist group seized Baiji in June 2014, but the Iraqi security forces liberated the town in late 2015. The liberation of the town gave the Iraqi forces complete control of the highway stretching from Baghdad to Baiji, and allowed Iraqi forces later to use Baiji as a launching pad for a further advance toward IS major stronghold in Mosul.

Baiji is almost totally destroyed by the previous battles despite more than a year and a half of being freed from IS militants. Its former inhabitants cannot return to their devastated town, as the security forces, including the Hashd Shaabi units, are stationed in some bases in the town.

Separately, IS militants attacked the posts of the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units in Zuwiyah area, some 30 km north of Baiji, but the units fighters fought back and prevented IS militants from taking a foothold in the military bases, the source said.

Initial reports said at least one Hashd Shaabi member was killed and three others wounded, the source added.

The third attack occurred in the early morning on a military base of the Kurdish forces, known as Peshmerga, in al-Zarga area near the town of Tuz-Khurmato, leaving two Peshmerga fighters wounded, while an IS militant was killed and another wounded by the clashes, the source said.

In Salahudin province, IS is still in control of Makhoul mountain range and the villages between the range and the Tigris River.

The eastern bank of the town of Shirqat, about 280 km north of Baghdad, as well as its surrounding villages and rural area that stretch to the IS-held town of Hawijah in the western part of the oil-rich province of Kirkuk are also under IS rule.

Iraqi security forces and allied paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units have freed the provincial capital Tikrit, about 170 km north of Baghdad, and other key cities and towns in the predominately Sunni Arab province of Salahudin.