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Iraq: Dozens killed in clashes with Islamic State, coalition airstrikes across Anbar province

By Fred Lambert
Soldiers patrol a polling station in Baghdad on Jan. 31, 2009. Fighting with Islamic State militants and airstrikes by the Iraqi military killed at least 31 people Sunday across the Anbar province. Meanwhile, the U.S.-led international coalition said it conducted a series of airstrikes against IS forces in the province throughout the weekend. File photo by Ali Jasim/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/e2df00e89e9d442f96a7bff05efde25b/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Soldiers patrol a polling station in Baghdad on Jan. 31, 2009. Fighting with Islamic State militants and airstrikes by the Iraqi military killed at least 31 people Sunday across the Anbar province. Meanwhile, the U.S.-led international coalition said it conducted a series of airstrikes against IS forces in the province throughout the weekend. File photo by Ali Jasim/UPI | License Photo

RAMADI, Iraq, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Clashes with Islamic State militants and airstrikes by the Iraqi government killed scores of people across Iraq's Anbar province on Sunday, security officials said.

Xinhua news agency, quoting a provincial security source who spoke on condition of anonymity, reported at least 12 Iraqi soldiers and allied Shia militiamen were killed during a firefight in eastern Fallujah that began after two vehicle bombs were detonated upon ramming a military base. The number of IS casualties in the battle was not confirmed.

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At least eight IS militants were killed and their vehicles destroyed during clashes with police in the Huseibah al-Sharqiyah area east of Ramadi, the provincial capital.

Iraqi forces have since mid-July been locked in an offensive against IS forces in western Iraq's Anbar province but have not made many significant gains.

Meanwhile, Iraqi airstrikes in northern Ramadi and Hit on Sunday killed 11 people, including at least three IS fighters, and wounded 12 others.

IraqiNews.com quoted a security source in Anbar as saying an Iraqi airstrike against an IS position in the town of Kubaysah on Sunday killed "about 40 leaders of the organization."

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The U.S.-led coalition bombing campaign, now more than a year old, conducted a series of airstrikes against IS forces in Anbar province over the weekend.

A Sept. 27 post on the Facebook page for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve indicated coalition airstrikes the day before also struck an IS staging area at the Kubaysah cement factory, as well as two car bomb factories and a headquarters building used by the militants in the province's Hit district.

The U.S. Department of Defense on Friday reported airstrikes against several IS positions the previous day in at least five towns in the Anbar province, and U.S. Central Command says 21 airstrikes were launched against the insurgents Wednesday, including in Ramadi, Hit and Habbaniyah.

Sunday's violence comes as Iraqi officials announced they would be sharing intelligence about IS -- also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL -- forces with Russia, Iran and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- a move seen as a further widening of Russian influence in the region as Moscow builds up military forces in Syria.

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