A total of 14 people were killed on Tuesday in clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants and air strikes in the Iraqi provinces of Anbar and Salahudin, provincial security sources said.
In the early hours of the day, fierce clashes erupted between dozens of IS militants and security forces backed by allied militias known as Hashd Shaabi, or popular mobilization, in the areas of Sidiqiyah and Tal Msheihda in east of the provincial capital city of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The clashes resulted in the killing of three security members and five allied militiamen, and the wounding of nine others, the source said, adding that there was no report about casualties among the extremist militants.
Separately, two women and a man were killed and five people injured in an air strike on two houses in Sicher area, just northwest of the militants-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, the source said.
On July 13, the Iraqi authorities announced the start of a major offensive against IS militants to free key cities and towns in the largest province of Anbar province from IS militants.
Iraqi security forces and allied Hashd Shaabi paramilitary militias have been fighting for months to retake control of key cities and towns in Iraq's largest province of Anbar since the IS militants seized most of it and tried to advance toward capital Baghdad, but several counter attacks by security forces and Shiite militias have pushed them back.
In Iraq's northern central province of Salahudin, three security members were killed and two others injured when a booby-trapped house detonated while the group were trying to defuse it in central the battleground town of Baiji, some 200 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a provincial security source anonymously told Xinhua.
Earlier in the month, security forces and allied militias, backed by Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition aircraft, have cleared most of the town of Baiji after days of heavy clashes with the extremist militants, but the two sides have involved in fierce tug-of-war battles near the town.
The battles in Baiji came as heavy clashes continue in the nearby Iraq's largest oil refinery as the security forces are fighting to drive out IS militants from Baiji refinery, which the militants are seizing large parts of it.
The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June 10 last year, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and the IS.