Bombs, clashes kill 7 from Iraq security forces
During the attacks, 16 other militants were killed and 17 arrested while seven houses used by militants to stock weapons were demolished
Bombings and clashes in central Iraq have killed seven members of the security forces and wounded eight, officials said according to the Associated Press.
Two roadside bombs targeted joint army and police patrols on Saturday in the town of Jurf al-Sakhar, prompting clashes in which artillery was used to support security forces, two police officers said, clarifying that four policemen and three soldiers were killed.
During the attacks, 16 other militants were killed and 17 arrested, while seven houses used by militants to stock weapons were demolished, the police officers added.
The town, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Baghdad, is a former insurgent stronghold that has in the past seen attacks on security forces and nearby Shiite areas.
The causalities were confirmed by a medical official who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release information.
Also on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced over $83 million in construction funds and training for allied tribal militia during a visit to Ramadi, where militants have held territory for weeks.
It was Maliki’s first announced trip to Anbar province since jihadist militants and anti-government tribesmen seized control of parts of Ramadi and all of Fallujah to its east at the start of the year, in a major setback for his government.
The premier met with provincial officials and leaders of powerful local tribes, Maliki’s spokesman Ali Mussawi told Agence France-Presse.
“We came to confirm our support to our people and our tribes in Anbar,” Mussawi quoted Maliki as saying in a speech.
He also announced 100 billion dinars (around $83 million) in construction funds for Anbar province, and said that security forces would provide training to pro-government tribal fighters, Mussawi said.
The takeovers in Anbar are the first time that anti-government forces have exercised such open control in major cities since the bloody insurgency that followed the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.
The prospects of a quick resolution to the crisis seem slim, with Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani saying the strategy for retaking Fallujah is to surround it and wait for Sunni Arab gunmen to run short of weapons and equipment.
Iraq is facing its worst violence since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings that left tens of thousands dead.