BAGHDAD, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Friday fought fiercely with Sunni militant groups in several provinces north and east of the capital Baghdad, security sources said.
In Salahudin province, military aircraft carried out many air strikes in some neighborhoods in the provincial capital city of Tikrit, leaving an undetermined number of people killed and wounded, the source said.
One of the strikes hit the emergency department of a main hospital in Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, killing three hospital workers and wounding seven others, also damaging part of the building, the source said.
In city of Baiji, about 30 km north of Tikrit, the Iraqi air force repeatedly bombarded the city and the areas surrounding the adjacent refinery, killing and wounding many people and damaging several houses, the source said, adding that the attacks on the residential areas pushed dozens of families to leave their homes to safer areas.
Earlier, insurgent groups had overran the city of Baiji and a large part of the Sunni-predominant province of Salahudin, including Tikrit.
In the eastern province of Diyala, fierce clashes continued on Friday between the security forces and the Sunni militants, including those who are linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, an al-Qaida offshoot, in the town of Dally Abbas, some 30 km north of the provincial capital city of Baquba, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity .
The battles in the partially militant-seized town left at least four soldiers killed and 17 people wounded, the source said.
In addition, battles continued in the town of Mansouriyah, some 40 km east of Baquba, after the militants took control the area on Thursday night. Three civilians from a same family were killed and three others wounded when a mortar round landed on a house, the source added.
Two more people were killed in a shootout in the town of abu- Saida near Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, when six gunmen, affiliated with Asa'b Ahl al-Haq Shiite militia, were wounded in an ambush by Sunni militants in Maqdadiyah, the source said.
Elsewhere, four civilians were killed and eight others wounded when mortar rounds landed in the predominantly Sunni town of Mahmoudiyah, some 30 km south of Baghdad, a local police source said.
Iraq have been witnessing its worst security conditions that began more than two weeks ago when armed Sunni insurgents launched a surprise offensive that led to the debacle of Iraqi security forces and the fallen of a large part of the country's northern and western territories.
WASHINGTON, June 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday downplayed the threat posed by Islamic militants making lightening advances in Iraq, saying the United States has been under "serious threat" during his entire presidency.
In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" program, the president was asked about the threat by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as his former ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker had described the splinter group of al-Qaida as one that " will be coming our way" with 2,000 fighters holding Western passports. Full story
BAGHDAD, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki said Thursday that the political track is necessary to go with the military track in fighting against the blitzkrieg of the Sunni extremist groups.
"There have to be two parallel tracks to proceed: the first is the work on the ground and military operations against the terrorists, and the second is to follow up the political process and holding the meeting of the Council of Representatives ( Parliament) on time," Maliki told British Foreign Secretary William Hague during their meeting in the capital Baghdad, according to a statement issued by Maliki's office. Full story