25 Iraqi forces killed fighting off Islamic State attack on Anbar

Iraqi forces have fought off an Islamic State attack on the city of Haditha in western Anbar province, police and the US-led coalition against the Sunni jihadist group said Tuesday.

Some 15 local Sunni tribal fighters and 10 policemen were killed over two days as the militants attempted to infiltrate the city from the town of Barwana on the opposite bank of the Euphrates river, Lieutenant Fouad Muhammad of the Haditha police told dpa.

Sunni-populated Anbar province is a stronghold of Islamic State.

Last week, Iraqi forces said they had recaptured the provincial capital, Ramadi, in their biggest victory over the extremist group in eight months - although some fighting continues around the city.

The jihadists had made several attacks near Haditha, which is about 110 kilometres north-west of Ramadi, Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for the US-led coalition against Islamic State, wrote on Twitter.

"None of these attacks have been successful due to stronger ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) and @CJTFOIR (coalition) airstrikes," Warren wrote.

Iraqi forces had also cleared the jihadists out of Barwana, the scene of to-and-fro fighting over recent days, but expected another attack, Muhammad said.

He added that the jihadists had used "dozens" of explosive-rigged vehicles in the attacks. The tactic has been used to deadly effect by Islamic State in the past, notably in its capture of Ramadi, between Haditha and Baghdad, in May.

The US military said in November that only 5 per cent of such attacks were effective after Iraqi forces received additional training and anti-armour weapons to combat them.

Last update: Tue, 05/01/2016 - 17:32

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