Baghdad, Nov 22 (IANS) Iraqi security forces launched a major offensive against Islamic State (IS) militants in the western province of Anbar Saturday, even as fighting continued in the province of Salahudin, a security source said.
In Anbar province security forces backed by allied tribal fighters and aircraft launched a major offensive against the IS militants in the early hours of Saturday. The militants had earlier seized al-Sajjariyah suburb in the eastern city of Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The troops drove inside the suburb and recaptured most of the area before noon. Battles are still underway, the source said.
On Friday, government troops and paramilitary tribesmen repelled an IS attack inside Ramadi and retook control of the neighbourhoods but sporadic clashes continued inside and at the edges of the city, he said.
For months, Ramadi has been the scene of fierce clashes between the IS militants and security forces who have gained the support of some of the local Sunni tribes who rejected the presence of the IS group.
Separately, an army air strike hit the town of Heet, some 160 km west of Baghdad, killing six people, including two women, the source added.
In Salahudin province, security forces retook control of the main road near the city of Balad, some 80 km north of Baghdad, after heavy clashes with IS militants.
Security personnel and Shiite militiamen also seized the strategic bridge of Saiyd Gharib on the Tigris River just south of Balad, as fighting continued near the bridge, the source said. The bodies of many IS militants were left dumped on the battle ground.