ISIS, islamska država.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Day Donaldson, used under CC BY

An Islamic State military assault in northern Iraq was turned back Friday after a five-hour battle with Iraqi troops, a security official said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said helicopters were deployed to support government troops in the dawn attack in the area of Shagrat al-Dur five kilometres south-west of the government-held city of Tikrit.

The terrorist militia had been dislodged from the area just hours before.

“The confrontation ended after the Daesh elements were forced to retreat leaving behind the bodies of 12 of their fighters,” the official said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

A policeman was also killed.

Islamic State was forced out of Tikrit in April.

On Thursday, the al-Qaeda terrorist network splinter group seized the key village of Tal Kasiba east of Tikrit, around 170 kilometres north of the capital Baghdad, following a surprise attack.

The governor of the northern province of Salah al-Din, Raed al-Jabouri, said government forces retook full control of Tal Kasiba after a fierce fight.

Tal Kasiba strategically lies at the intersection of roads leading into several areas in northern Iraq.

Last month, the Iraqi government announced the "liberation" of the western city of Ramadi from Islamic State, marking the first major setback for the radical Sunni group since April. Since Ramadi's recapture, Islamic State has carried out a series of attacks in several parts of Iraq where it still controls large swathes of territory. 

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