UPDATED: 20 Islamic State militants killed in Anbar after brief encounters

A member from the Iraqi security forces holds an Iraqi flag in the city of Ramadi.

Ramadi ( Anbar security forces killed 20 Islamic State militants on Wednesday after brief encounters flared when group members invaded areas in the west and south of Ramadi.

Security declared a curfew in  Ramadi earlier on Wednesday at al-Tash and the 5th Kilometer regions, south and west of Ramadi, with army and police forces putting the militants under siege there, Alsumaria reported.

Baghdad Today said the militants did take over al-Tash and al-Jamea (university) areas after invading them with 20 pickup trucks. The website added that the militants are currently holding civilians there.

Alsumaria quoted a commander in Anbar police service saying troops retook the two areas and killed 20 militants.

Government and tribal forces recaptured Ramadi from the Islamic State in December 2015, but have since then countered occasional attacks by the group and stopped booby-trapped vehicles at its checkpoints.

Islamic State is currently holding the towns of Rawa and Qaim on Anbar’s western borders with Syria as its last two strongholds in the province. Iraqi forces and tribal troops recaptured the town of Annah last Thursday, and are currently preparing for an offensive on Rawa.

Parallel operations are running to retake Islamic State-held town of Hawija in southwestern Kirkuk. U.S.-backed campaigns since October 2016 have so far liberated Mosul, IS’s former capital, and the town of Tal Afar, both in Nineveh.


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