Islamic State militants attacked Iraqi security forces on Friday near the two main cities of the western province of Anbar, where authorities plan a counter-offensive against the hardline Sunni insurgents, tribal sources said.
They said the militants attacked on two fronts near Khaldiya. The Euphrates river town lies next to a military base between the provincial capital Ramadi, seized by Islamic State in May, and their long-held bastion of Falluja.
forces, who are leading the counter-attack against Islamic State in Anbar
, and Iraqi security forces have been trying to encircle Falluja as the first stage of a military campaign to recapture the two cities.
Some of the heaviest fighting took place near the villages of Husaybah Sharqiya
, which run along the southern bank of the river west of Khaldiya, the sources said.