BAGHDAD, Jan 07: The Islamic State group has stepped up attacks on the western Iraqi town of Haditha, where at least 45 Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribal fighters have been killed in clashes over the past three days and another 30 wounded, according to Iraqi officials, says an AP report.
The attacks come after Iraqi forces aided by U.S.-led airstrikes drove IS militants out of the city center of Ramadi, the capital of the sprawling Anbar province west of Baghdad. Following that victory a week ago, U.S. officials said the extremist group has lost 40 percent of its territory in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria.
Coalition officials briefing journalists on Wednesday described a multi-pronged attack on Haditha beginning early this week. IS suicide attackers driving cars loaded with explosives approached the town from three fronts, while other militants fired mortar rounds at the nearby al-Asad air base, home to some 450 foreign coalition forces, none of whom were wounded in the attack.
Khalid Salman, a provincial councilman from Haditha, and Shaalan al-Nimrawi, a local tribal sheikh, confirmed the casualty figures among the Iraqi forces.