Iraqi forces kill 44 IS militants

Baghdad, March 12 (IANS) At least 44 Islamic State militants were killed on Saturday in air strikes and clashes with Iraqi security forces in Anbar province, a provincial security source said.

The Iraqi security forces have liberated two areas near the city of Ramadi, Xinhua reported..

The troops and Sunni tribal fighters, backed by Iraqi and US-led aircraft, drove out IS militants from Abu Teiban and Al-Safiriyah, just west of Ramadi.

The troops raised the Iraqi flag on a building at the scene after killing at least 24 IS militants and destroying six of their vehicles, the source said.

The clashes in the two areas also left eight security members dead and five wounded, the source added.

Meanwhile, an IS sniper shot dead Major Zana Khalil, commander of an army regiment, in Albu De’ij area south of the militant-seized city of Fallujah.

Separately, US-led coalition and Iraqi aircraft bombarded a convoy of four vehicles carrying IS militants near the town of al-Baghdadi, destroying the four vehicles and killing at least 14 militants aboard, the source added.

Moreover, Iraqi warplanes bombarded an IS headquarters in the IS-held town of Heet, killing six militants and wounding four others, he said citing intelligence reports.

Government troops and allied militias have been fighting for months to retake control of key cities and towns in Anbar.

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