Iraqi soldiers and Shia volunteers fight Islamic State militants in Tikrit on April 1, 2015. An Iraqi security source reportedly told Xinhua news agency that dozens of IS fighters died in clashes with Iraqi forces in Anbar and Salahudin provinces on June 28, 2015. Photo by Alaa mohamed/UPI | License Photo
FALLUJAH, Iraq, June 28 (UPI) -- Security sources say dozens of Islamic State fighters died in clashes with pro-government forces in the Anbar province and other locations in Iraq on Sunday.
Xinhua news agency quoted a provincial security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying Iraqi army forces used artillery to kill 26 IS militants near the city of Haditha, while security forces defending positions near the IS-held city of Hit killed 15 attacking IS militants and destroyed eight of their vehicles.
Iraqi airstrikes on IS-controlled Fallujah reportedly killed 10 people and wounded 19. Residents in the Anbar province city accused the government of indiscriminate attacks, but defense officials said the strikes only targeted IS positions.
IS forces last month captured the city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, and have since attacked east toward Baghdad but have been reportedly pushed back in a series of counter-attacks by Shia militias and security forces.
Meanwhile, Shia militias known as Popular Mobilization Forces killed nine IS fighters and destroyed two of their vehicles in an attack on IS positions near the city of Samarra in Salahudin province, Xinhua reports.
The Popular Mobilization Forces, or "Hashd Shaabi," were instrumental in the capture of Tikrit from IS forces in April. The Shia militias had to be withdrawn from the city, however, after reports emerged of looting, arson and illegal killings in the majority Sunni Arab city.
Also on Sunday, unidentified gunmen shot to death the director of operations for Iraq's state run North Oil Company as he left his office in Kirkuk.
Meanwhile, bombings in multiple areas of Baghdad reportedly killed nine people and wounded 19, adding to a series of continuing attacks in the capital, including a string of blasts that killed at least 18 people on June 9.
Speaking at a 22-nation security conference in Paris on June 2, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi requested more international support against IS, saying the Sunni extremist group's advance into Iraq was "a failure on the part of the world."
IS forces spilled into Iraq from Syria roughly one year ago, sending tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers running from key cities such as Mosul without a fight.
A U.S.-led international coalition known as Operation Inherent Resolve formed against the IS, which declared a "caliphate" in captured lands in June 2014. Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have taken part in airstrikes against the group in Iraq, while Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have attacked IS positions in Syria. The United States, Canada and Jordan have conducted strikes in both nations.
U.S. Central Command reported on June 26 airstrikes against IS militants in 10 different Iraqi cities, including Mosul, Kirkuk, Sinjar and Fallujah.
The U.S. State Department earlier this month said the coalition has so far killed an estimated 10,000 IS fighters in Iraq and Syria. Days later it said efforts to defeat IS forces in Iraq may take between three and five years.
The United Nations estimates violence in Iraq killed at least 12,282 civilians and wounded 23,126 others in 2014.