ISIS launches offensives near northwest Iraqi city

By REUTERS
January 5, 2016 17:28
1 minute read.

BAGHDAD - Islamic State has launched several offensives near the city of Haditha in northwest Iraq in the past 48 hours, the US-led coalition against the militant group said on Tuesday.

Coalition air strikes helped the Iraqi army repel a first onslaught towards Haditha on Monday by about 200 militants, US Army Col. Steve Warren told a news briefing in Baghdad.

He said more than 100 Islamic State (IS) fighters were killed, without giving a figure for casualties on the Iraqi government side.

"Every one of these Daesh (IS) attacks has been broken by a combination of coalition air power and Iraqi security forces," he said.

He said Islamic State was diverting attacks to Haditha, 190 km (120 miles) northwest of Baghdad, after losing Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar.

Warren denied claims by the the group on Monday that it had captured Barwana and Sakran, two towns near Haditha.

Islamic State had not taken "a single inch of land" since May 2015, when it captured Ramadi, Warren said. Its forces were in a "defensive crouching position", he added.

Warren said earlier on Tuesday that Islamic State's territory had shrunk by 40 percent from its maximum extent in Iraq, and by 20 percent in Syria.


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