IS attacks troops in western Iraq, killing 11

AP News
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Posted: Jan 04, 2016 10:41 AM

BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State militants attacked Iraqi troops and allied tribal fighters outside the western town of Haditha on Monday, killing at least 11 and wounding dozens, officials said.

Haditha councilman Khalid Suleiman said 30 troops were wounded in the attacks, which included a suicide car bombing and roadside bombs. A medical official in Haditha confirmed the casualty figures on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release information.

The attack comes a week after Iraqi troops backed by U.S.-led airstrikes and Sunni tribesmen pushed IS out of central Ramadi, capital of the sprawling Anbar province, which also includes Haditha.

Pockets of IS fighters remain to the east and north of the city and have launched daily counterattacks against Iraqi military positions, mostly using suicide car bombs.

Col. Steve Warren, the Baghdad-based spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, said most attacks were repelled with a combination of air support and the heavier weaponry Iraqi forces are now equipped with.

"ISIL's standard tactic now is to go in with car bombs or truck bombs supported by infantry," Warren said, using an alternative acronym for the group. "They use (car bombs) to try to break a hole (in a defensive line) or seize a piece of ground."

IS had captured Ramadi in May, in one of its biggest advances since the U.S.-led coalition began striking the group in 2014. Recapturing the city, which is the provincial capital of Anbar, provided a major morale boost for Iraqi forces.

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Associated Press writer Susannah George in Baghdad, Iraq contributed to this report.