BAGHDAD, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Wednesday continued clashes and bombardments against Sunni militants, security and medical sources said.
In Salahudin province, Iraqi aircraft pounded several neighborhoods and a popular market in the city of Shirqat, some 280 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, leaving five houses destroyed and 18 people killed, including eight from one family, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
A woman and three children were among the killed by the bombardment which also wounded 18 people, the source said.
Meanwhile, fierce clashes took place in and around the provincial capital city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, and the security forces managed to retake control of the headquarters of the army's 4th division, just south of Tikrit, the military spokesman Lieutenant General Qassim Atta told reporters at a news conference in Baghdad.
The troops seized all roads leading to the militant-seized city of Tikrit after they defused 57 bombs planted on the main roads, Atta said.
Also in the province, four militants were killed and 16 others were captured by the troops in clashes in the city of Samarra, some 120 km north of Baghdad, Atta added.
In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, sporadic battles between the security forces and Sunni militants, including those who are linked to the Islamic State (IS), an al-Qaida offshoot, continued across the province, while the military aircraft carried out air strikes against the insurgent posts in north of the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, leaving 60 militants killed, according to Atta.
Elsewhere, clashes erupted during the day between the security forces and Sunni militant groups in Jurf al-Sakhar area in the northern part of the country's central province of Babil, killing seven militants and destroying several of their vehicles, Atta said, without giving further details about the casualty among the security forces.
In Anbar province, the security forces fought insurgent groups in the desert areas in south of Tharthar Lake and killed 24 militants and wounded 11 others, Atta added.
Separately, two civilians were killed and 15 others wounded, including women and children in mortar barrage on several neighborhoods in the city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, a medical source from the city hospital told Xinhua.
Iraq has been witnessing its worst security conditions that began more than two weeks ago when armed Sunni insurgents, spearheaded by ISIL, 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.