BAGHDAD – Security forces killed more than 60 suspected terrorists in a 24-hour period, Iraqi authorities said Wednesday.
Airstrikes and other military operations in the western province of Anbar resulted in the deaths of more than 50 fighters associated with al Qaeda, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Ten other extremists died in a sweep targeting insurgents west of Mosul, capital of the northern province of Nineveh, a police source told Efe.
Security forces apprehended 16 accused terrorists, seized weapons and other military materiel and destroyed five insurgent camps in that raid, the source said.
Anbar, Iraq’s largest province, has witnessed weeks of fighting between the security forces and insurgents led by the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, which is also a protagonist in the civil war in neighboring Syria.
Tribal militias in the majority Sunni province are divided. Some support Iraq’s Shiite-headed government, while others have lined up with the insurgents.
Two civilians were killed and four others wounded Wednesday when mortar shells struck homes near the main hospital in Fallujah, Anbar, police said.
ISIL seized control of Fallujah early this month, but Iraqi security forces say they agreed to stay out of the city after the local tribes pledged to expel the insurgents.
Those tribes, however, say they have re-established authority over the city and that the government’s counterterrorism campaign is merely a pretext to suppress protests by disgruntled Sunnis.