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Security Forces Inaugurate Anti-IS Offensive in Northern Iraq

Iraqi security forces on Sunday launched an offensive to flush out Islamic State (IS) militants from a Shiite Turkoman village in the country’s northern province of Kirkuk, a provincial security source told the press.

The troops and allied paramilitary units, known as Hashd Shaabi, advanced in the morning toward Basheer village from the north and the west, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Heavy clashes erupted in and around the village, some 220 km north of Baghdad, the source said.

Fighters from Shiite paramilitary groups, known as Hashd Shaabi or Popular Mobilization, launch new operation to free Bashir village.

So far, the troops have made slow progress due to large number of roadside bombs leading to the IS-held village, the source said, adding that the roadside bombs killed four Hashd Shaabi members and wounded 22 others.

Meanwhile, IS militants also pushed a booby-trapped military truck and a tanker truck loaded with explosives to attack the positions of Hashd Shaabi members, leaving six of them killed and 28 others wounded, the source said.

The clashes continued into the night as the extremist militants sustained heavy casualties among their fighters and vehicles, the source added.

Iraqi security forces and allied Sunni paramilitary tribal units have been battling IS militants to repossess control of large territories in northern and western Iraq, seized by the IS since June 2014.

By Robert Muriisa.

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