Iraqi troops battle to retake northern town from militants

Iraqi troops battle to retake northern town from militants
Fri Feb 14, 2014 16:31:22

Iraqi forces fought on Friday to retake part of a northern town and areas seized by gunmen, an official said.

The Thursday takeover of part of Sulaiman Bek and nearby villages in Salaheddin province came as al-Qaeda linked militant groups control all of one major city and part of another in the western province of Anbar, in a stand-off that has lasted for weeks.

Talib al-Bayati, a local official for the Sulaiman Bek area, told AFP that security forces backed by tanks and other armor began attacking militant-held areas on Friday morning.

Engineers moved in first to search for bombs, Bayati said.

Security forces killed two militants in the area on Friday, after a helicopter strike killed seven on Thursday.

The violence is the latest violence to hit the region.

Last July, some 150 militants carried out a coordinated operation in the Sulaiman Bek area, attacking with mortar rounds, automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.

The violence drew security forces away from a nearby highway, where several dozen militants set up a checkpoint and executed 14 Shiite Muslim truck drivers.

Sulaiman Bek was also briefly seized by militants in late April last year.

Iraqi authorities face a far more serious problem in Anbar province, where al-Qaeda militants have held all of the city of Fallujah and parts of provincial capital Ramadi for weeks.


string(855) "[{"id":"1562898","sort":"3166810","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/06/alalam_635272698522746793_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Human Rights Watch raps ISIL over crimes in Iraq"} ,{"id":"1563368","sort":"3166811","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/07/alalam_635273867222130517_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Iraq attacks kill nine including election candidate"} ,{"id":"1563763","sort":"3166812","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/08/alalam_635274777565695898_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Iraq gives Anbar militants one-week ultimatum"} ,{"id":"1563993","sort":"3166813","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/09/alalam_635275531937993935_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Nine killed in brutal Iraq assassinations"} ,{"id":"1564376","sort":"3166814","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/10/alalam_635276483817457418_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"21 militants killed by own car blast in Iraq"} ]"