Iraqi security forces on Wednesday repelled an attack by Islamic State (IS) militants, including suicide bombers, near a military air base housing U.S. troops in Iraq's western province of Anbar, provincial security sources said.
The attack occurred near Ain al-Asad air base near the town of Baghdadi, some 200 km northwest of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, when dozens of IS militants planted several roadside bombs on the road leading to the base and detonated them near a military convoy, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The roadside blasts were immediately followed by an attack of dozens of IS militants sparking heavy fighting with the troops and allied Shiite and Sunni militias in the convoy, the source said, adding that during the battle, two suicide bombers wearing explosive vests blew themselves up near the troops.
A total of 15 security members were killed and wounded, and six military vehicles were damaged by the clashes, the source said without giving further details about the casualties among the extremist militants.
Meanwhile, Major General Ali Ibrahim, Commander of Jazera and Badiyah Operations, responsible for security of the desert area where the air base located, told reporters that the security forces near Ain al-Asad air base opened fire on a suicide tanker truck bomb while approaching the troops and blew it up before reaching the troops' positions.
Ibrahim also said that the U.S.-led coalition air craft carried out an air strike on IS positions near the town of Baghdadi, killing 15 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 from IS militants, which seized most of Anbar and tried to advance toward Baghdad.