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33 killed in Iraq’s Anbar province

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Baghdad: Air strikes and clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq’s western province of Anbar led to the death of 33 people with 39 others injured on Wednesday, media reported. The deadliest incident occurred when two suicide bombers wearing explosive-vests detonated themselves near security forces and allied militias, known as Hashd Shaabi, in an area near the town of Haditha, a security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Heavy clashes between troops and dozens of IS militants followed the two blasts, the source said. The battles left 11 security members and militiamen dead with 16 others wounded, while eight militants were killed. Meanwhile, three security members were killed and six others wounded in a mortar barrage by IS militants against a military base at a key dam near the town of Haditha on the Euphrates river, the source said.

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Independently, US-led coalition warplanes bombarded two houses, believed to be IS militant hideouts, in the Gasriyat area, east of Anbar’s provincial capital city of Ramadi.  The airstrike killed six IS militants and wounded nine others, another security source in the province anonymously told Xinhua, citing intelligence reports. Also in Anbar, Iraqi aircraft bombed the Albu-Shejil area north of the IS-held city of Fallujah, killing five people and wounding eight others, the source added. Iraqi security forces and allied Hashd Shaabi paramilitary militias have been fighting for months to regain control of key cities and towns back from IS militants in the largest province of Anbar, as IS seized most of Anbar province, then attempted to advance towards Baghdad.

(IANS)

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Iraqi Army continues Offensive on Islamic State to Regain Hawija, Anbar

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IS clamed territory Hawija in Iraq
A black sign belonging to Islamic State militants is seen on the road in Al-Al-Fateha military airport south of Hawija, Iraq.

The Iraqi army and its allied Shi’ite militias continue to press for the last pockets of Islamic State in Hawija and Anbar.

In a news conference held in Geneva, on 3rd October 2017, U.N. spokesperson Jens Laerke, said that an estimated 12,500 civilians have fled their homes in Hawija since the start of the Iraqi operation on September 21 and nearly 78,000 people could still be trapped in their homes as the fighting reaches densely populated areas.

Hawija

Hawija is a Sunni-majority city in the al-Hawija district with a population of about 100,000. It had a population of 500,000 before IS took control in mid-2014 as many residents fled the violence.

Iraqi army and allied Shi’ite Popular Mobilization Forces claim the fight for Hawija has entered its final stages as they recently gained a strategic foothold in the district by capturing an air base from IS on Monday. The base, known as Rashad air base, is about 30 kilometres (20 miles) south of Hawija and serves as a training camp and logistic base for IS in the region.

Anbar

In western Iraq’s Anbar province, where the Iraqi army launched a separate offensive last month against IS, the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration said it has identified more than 8,500 newly displaced people, raising the number of displaced in the province to more than 54,000 since January 2017.

“People newly displaced from their homes often arrive dehydrated, suffering from hunger and thirst,” said IOM’s Hamed Amro. “Many require psychosocial support and need medical care. Some have chronic illness and exacerbated conditions due to a long-term lack of care, and others suffer from malnutrition. We have also received a few trauma cases.”

Commanders on the ground say IS has set fire to oil wells and has forced civilians who remained to serve as human shields to inhibit airstrikes. (voa)

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