65 killed in clashes, bomb attacks in Iraqtext_fields
Baghdad: At least 56 people were killed in clashes between security forces and Islamic State (IS) militants across Iraq, while nine people were killed in bomb attacks targeting restaurants in the capital Baghdad Sunday, security sources said.
In Iraq's Diyala province, the security forces backed by Shia militiamen and aircrafts retook control of eight villages in the rural area of the volatile town of Maqdadiyah, some 100 km northeast of Baghdad, after fierce clashes with the IS, which left at least 35 members of the Sunni radical group killed, an interior ministry statement said.
The security forces Sunday freed the whole area of Shirween valley and redeployed later to free a small area north of Maqdadiyah which is still under the IS control, Xinhua quoted Lieutenant General Jamil al-Shimary, the provincial police chief, as saying.
The clashes in Diyala were part of a major offensive by the Iraqi forces and allied Shia militias launched early Friday with the aim of ending the presence of IS militants in Iraq's eastern province.
In Anbar province, the IS militants clashed with the Iraqi forces in al-Khasfa area of Haditha town, some 200 km northwest of Baghdad, which was freed from the extremist militants Thursday. The clashes in Anbar left 12 security members killed and seven wounded, a provincial security source said.
It also resulted in the killing of four IS militants and the capture of three others.
Separately, clashes erupted between the Iraqi security forces backed by allied Sunni tribesmen and the IS south of the militants-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, leaving five IS militants killed and 12 wounded.
Earlier, a police source said that nine people were killed and 27 wounded in three bomb attacks targeting restaurants in Baghdad.
Five people were killed and 12 wounded when a bomb hidden in a plastic bag detonated in a restaurant in Bab al-Sharji area in Baghdad.
Another bomb went off near a small restaurant in al-Sibaa area in the capital city, which left three people killed and eight wounded.
A third bomb attack ripped through a restaurant in Habibiyah area, killing a civilian and wounding seven people.
The security situation in Iraq began to drastically deteriorate June 10, 2014, when bloody clashes broke out between the Iraqi security forces and the IS group, an Al Qaeda offshoot, which took control of the country's northern province of Nineveh and later seized swathes of territories after Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts in other predominantly Sunni provinces.
The country has been witnessing some of the worst violence in years, killing at least 12,282 civilians and injuring 23,126 others in 2014, the deadliest year since the flare-up of sectarian violence in 2006-2007, according to a recent UN report.