Baghdad, January 31 (IANS/EFE) Dozens of Islamic State (IS) jihadis and at least 16 members of the Iraqi security forces were killed, and 77 people were injured in intense fighting in several Iraqi provinces on Friday.
An Iraqi police source said that IS militants launched a major offensive on three different fronts against the city of Kirkuk, 250 km north of the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad. The attacks were repelled by the defence forces of the autonomous region of Kurdistan, commonly known as the "Peshmerga".
The source added that dozens of jihadis were killed and injured in the clashes.
The commander of the First Kurdish Infantry Battalion, Sherko Fateh, was killed along with four other Iraqi Kurdish security personnel, while 30 others were wounded.
The source said that four snipers holed themselves up in an abandoned hotel in Kirkuk, adding that two of snipers detoted explosive belts strapped to their bodies, injuring six Iraqi policemen.
The other snipers were reportedly shot dead by the Iraqi forces after the latter surrounded the hotel.
The authorities in Kirkuk declared an indefinite curfew in the city following these incidents.
IS militants launched another offensive on the Al Hayakel area in Fallujah, the second–largest city in the province of Al Anbar, which was repelled by the Iraqi forces.
Another group of extremists attacked Iraqi troops in the Al Kerma region, located east of Fallujah, where intense clashes resulted in an unknown number of casualties on both sides.
The source also added that IS fighters killed seven securitymen, including a colonel, in an attack on a highway located west of the city of Samarra in Saladin province, north of Baghdad. Also in Samarra, three policemen were killed and four others wounded in an attack on a checkpoint, perpetrated by two suicide bombers wearing explosive belts.
Another attack in the same region, for which a tanker truck loaded with explosives was used, killed a member of the Iraqi security forces and wounded six others.
The source added that local authorities in Samarra declared a curfew in the neighbourhoods of Al Muatasim, Al Qatul and Al Khadraa, where important governmental and security premises were located.
In Baghdad, two people were killed while 11 others were injured after an explosive device was detoted in the area of Al Bab al–Sharqi, in the capital’s downtown, according to another security source. (IANS)