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Iraqi forces advance against IS militants in Salahudin province
Iraqi security forces on Saturday made some gains on the ground against the Islamic State (IS) militant group, advancing to break the siege of the town of Dhuluiyah in Iraq's northern central province of Salahudin, a provincial security source said.
The security forces, backed by Shiite militias and aircraft, advanced from several directions toward the town of Dhuluiyah, some 90 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The troops seized town of Yathrib, just south of Dhuluiyah, and the nearby areas of Aziz Balad and Tal al-Dahab, while other troops moved toward Dhuluiyah from the north after they cleared the rural areas from IS militants and seized the small town of Banat al-Hassan, the source said.
More troops and Shiite militias advanced from the east and seized al-Dhuluiyah airport, just east of the town, and are heading to the edge of the town, the source added.
Dhuluiyah is home to the Sunni tribe of al-Jubour, who have been fighting IS militants for several month. The extremist militants seized the town in mid-June, but were driven away from the southern part of the town, where the tribesmen homes are located. The IS militants are only seizing the northern part of the town and imposing a siege on it.
Saturday's operations were part of a series of offensives by the Iraqi forces to retake control of the town of Dhuluiyah and the nearby areas.
Salahudin is a predominantly Sunni province and its capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, is the hometown of former President Saddam Hussein.
The security in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June 10, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and Sunni militants. The latter later took control of the country's northern city of Mosul and seized swathes of territories in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.
[Source: Xinhua, Tikrit, 27Dec14]
War in Iraq
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