Iraqi security forces on Sunday repelled an attack by Islamic State (IS) militants on a military base in west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, raising fears about possible push by the extremists into the capital, security sources said.
Dozens of IS militants carried out a pre-dawn attack with three suicide car bombs on an army base and nearby grain silos in Hitawyeen area, just west of Baghdad's western suburb of Abu Ghraib, a local security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Reinforcement troops and allied paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units arrived at the scene and pushed back the attackers after several hours of heavy clashes, leaving dozens of IS militants killed, the source said without elaboration.
Immediately after the attack, the security forces imposed curfew on Abu Ghraib area and blocked all the roads leading to Baghdad in order to prevent any possible infiltration of IS militants to the Iraqi capital, the source said.
The news of IS attack in Abu Ghraib area raised fears among Baghdad population the IS militant could be closer to the residential areas in the capital, especially after rumors said that dozens of families left their homes in Abu Ghraib area.
The fears in Baghdad pushed Brigadier General Saad Maan, spokesman of Baghdad Operations Command, to issue a brief statement calling on the people "not to listen to malicious rumors about the existence of displacement of Abu Ghraib families," asserting that what happened was only a failed attack by the extremist militants on Hitawyeen area not Abu Ghraib itself.
Abu Ghraib area, some 25 km west of Baghdad, located just north west of Baghdad international airport. The area is part of the volatile Sunni Arab area in west of Baghdad that stretches through Anbar province to Iraq's western borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Government troops and allied militias have been fighting for months to retake control of key cities and towns in Anbar, Iraq's largest province, from IS militants, who previously seized most of Anbar and tried to advance toward Baghdad.