ISLAMIC State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters launched a major offensive against Iraqi forces in a town just 20km west of the capital Baghdad, killing at least 18 soldiers and militiamen backing the army.
A separate ISIL suicide attack, meanwhile, near the city of Fallujah yesterday left 14 Iraqi policemen dead and another 25 wounded.
On the outskirts of Baghdad, ISIL seized the village of Khdim Adhab in Abu Ghraib – as well as a silo and a water plant in the town – after attacking several security posts, military sources told Al Jazeera.
A number of policemen and tribal fighters were also abducted by the group to unknown locations, the sources said on condition of anonymity, citing security concerns.
However, Baghdad’s operations command centre denied that any of its forces were taken prisoner, saying two suicide attackers were killed during a foiled assault.
“The town of Abu Ghraib is considered administratively to be part of Baghdad city – it is on the western outskirts of Baghdad,” reported Al Jazeera from Baghdad. “ISIL for more than a year wanted to get closer to the city of Baghdad and Abu Ghraib prison,” he said, referring to the jail that gained notoriety after United States (U.S.) troops abused Iraqi prisoners there after the 2003 invasion.
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