I.S. attacks Iraqi town near U.S. base

Feb 13, 2015, 1:25 AM EST
A member of the Iraqi security forces patrols the Najaf governorates border with the mostly Islamic State (IS) group controlled western province of Anbar as new security measures have been taken to beef up security on the border of the Saudi desert on January 24, 2015.
AFP/Getty Images

Islamic State (I.S.) militants have launched an attack on a town in Iraq's Anbar province, close to an airbase that is home to some 300 U.S. marines, reports the BBC. The militants attacked the town of al-Baghdadi, 5km (three miles) from the Ain al-Asad base, where the U.S. forces are training Iraqi troops.

Heavy fighting was reported around the town, west of Anbar's capital, Ramadi.

The U.S. is spearheading an air campaign against the militants, who seized large parts of Iraq and Syria last year. The U.S. military says its aircraft carried out several strikes on IS positions in Iraq on Thursday, mostly concentrated around the Iraqi towns of Mosul and Kirkuk.

The U.S. military says its aircraft carried out several strikes on I.S. positions in Iraq on Thursday, mostly concentrated around the Iraqi towns of Mosul and Kirkuk.

An Iraqi defense ministry spokesman declined to comment on the situation in Anbar. District manager Naji Arak confirmed that Islamic State insurgents had entered al-Baghdadia and attacked some government buildings, writes Reuters

He initially estimated the militants had taken 90 percent of the town but later said he could not confirm the extent of the group's control as intermittent clashes continued into the early morning. The death toll from the fighting was not immediately clear. 

Most of the surrounding towns in Anbar fell under Islamic State control after the group's rapid advance across the Syrian border last summer. Elsewhere in Iraq, five civilians were killed when bombs went off in two towns south of Baghdad, police and medical sources said. Such attacks are not uncommon in and around the capital.

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