Rutba (IraqiNews.com) Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and five others were wounded in an ambush set by Islamic State militants west of Anbar, while 15 militants died in an airstrike, military commanders said Wednesday.
IS militants ambushed the soldiers in al-Sakkar, east of the western Anbar city of Rutba, Anadolu Agency reported, quoting Anbar police captain Ahmed al-Deleimi. The ambush targeted a convoy of off-duty border guards, according to the officer, leaving two dead and five injured.
Meanwhile, Qassem al-Mohammadi, commander of the army’s al-Jazeera Operations in Anbar, said fighter jets from the U.S.-led coalition pounded an Islamic State rest house in the town of Annah, leaving 15 members dead. A suicide bomber was also killed in another airstrike when jets targeted his booby-trapped vehicle.
Mohammadi said the strikes come as part of preparations to invade Islamic State strongholds in Annah, Rawa and Qaim, west of Anbar, which militants have held since 2014.
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 the campaign to drive out IS from Mosul, the group’s principal stronghold in Iraq.
Islamic State members reportedly killed and wounded 30 Iraqi security members in an ambush near al-Rutba on Sunday.