Baghdad, July 23 IANS | 4 months ago

Iraqi security forces battling Sunni insurgent groups killed at least 110 militants across the country, security sources said Wednesday.

In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, dozens of militants, including those who are linked to the Islamic State (IS), an Al Qaeda offshoot, attacked an air base and Himreen dam northeast of Baquba, some 65 km from Iraq's capital Baghdad, but were repelled by security forces and volunteers, leaving 50 militants dead and eight of their vehicles destroyed, Jamil al-Shimary, the provincial police chief, told Xinhua.

Separately, gunmen believed to be linked to the IS group shot dead Haqi Ismael, leader of an insurgent tribal group, in the militant-seized town of Saadiyah, some 50 km northeast of Baquba, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Observers see the incident in Saadiyah as a sign of tension between the Sunni tribal militants and the extremist Sunni IS group, which would likely to spark an infighting between the insurgent groups.

Also in Diyala, two people were killed and two policemen wounded in separate clashes with insurgent militants across the province, the source said.

In the northern province of Nineveh, more than 35 insurgent militants were killed and 20 of their vehicles were destroyed in overnight clashes between the Kurdish security forces, known as Peshmerga, and IS militants in an area located just north of the provincial capital city of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

A pharmaceutical company building Nineveh was set on fire as fighting raged. It is Iraq's second largest factory producing medicine.

The battles broke out late Tuesday night when the IS militants abducted three Peshmerga members, including an officer in the area, prompting the Peshmerga to battle the militant group until the early morning hours, the source said.

In Salahudin province, 10 people were killed, including three children, and 18 others wounded in air strikes by warplanes that destroyed three houses in the militant-seized city of Shirqat, some 280 km north of Baghdad, a provincial security source told Xinhua.

Also in Shirqat, the IS militants killed two women and kidnapped their husbands, the source said, adding that one of the women is an activist and the other one was a candidate for the country's April 30 parliamentary elections, but failed to win a seat.

Elsewhere, the police found 10 bodies of civilians who were earlier kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in the city of Samarra, some 120 km north of Baghdad, the source said.

The bodies were dumped near the Tigris river just outside the city, the source added.

Iraq has been witnessing some of the worst violence in years. About six weeks ago, armed Sunni insurgents, spearheaded by the IS, launched a surprise offensive on Iraqi security forces. The group captured a large part of the country's northern and western territories.

(Posted on 23-07-2014)

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