The fighting took place Wednesday when a group of militants opened fire on a police patrol to the northwest of the provincial capital city of Baquba, Xinhua reported Thursday. The area is a former al-Qaida stronghold and stretches to the Iranian border.
Iraqi soldiers and an army helicopter intervened in the firefight resulting in the deaths of seven militants, two policemen and three soldiers. Security forces captured eight of the militants, the newspaper said.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, announced Sunday a plan called "Breaking the Walls," which is aimed at returning to previous al-Qaida strongholds in the country and releasing al-Qaida prisoners.