Islamic State attack leaves 10 soldiers dead west of Anbar

Iraqi army in Anbar

Rutba ( Ten Iraqi army soldiers were killed and six were wounded Tuesday when Islamic State militants attacked an army command facility in western Anbar, according to news reports.

Sky News Arabia said the attack on al-Sakkar region in al-Rutba left four soldiers killed and five others wounded in an initial toll.

Islamic State militants, who have held a handful of towns in western Anbar since 2014, have recently escalated attacks against government and paramilitary troops in Rutba. An earlier attack on Sunday left two soldiers dead and eight wounded.

Google Maps view of Rutba City (marked with red).

fighter jets have regularly pounded locations held by the Islamic State at the stronghold towns of Annah, Qaim and Rawa, killing dozens of militants. Thousands of civilians are thought to be held in Islamic State captivity at those locations.

It is widely expected that the Iraqi government will launch a major security offensive in Anbar once it is done with its U.S.-backed campaign to drive out IS from Mosul, the group’s principal stronghold in Iraq, which has been running since October 2016. Military officials have been quoted over the past few weeks telling of preparations to invade IS havens in the province with the backing of the international coalition and tribal militias.

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