Fierce clashes in western Iraq, residents say IS group seizes villages near provincial capital

Fierce clashes are underway in Iraq’s western Anbar province where residents say Islamic State militants captured three villages near the provincial capital of Ramadi.

The residents say the Islamic State launched an offensive at dawn Wednesday east of the city, seizing the villages Sjariyah, Albu-Ghanim and Soufiya, which had been under government control.

They say fighting is now taking place on the eastern edges of Ramadi about two kilometers (mile) away from local government building.

In Soufiya, the militants bombed a police station and took over a power plant. The residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing for their own safety, said airstrikes are trying to back up Iraqi troops.

IS was dealt a major blow this month, when Iraqi troops pushed it out of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown.

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