Iraqi forces kill 74 Daesh militants

Iraqi forces kill 74 Daesh militants
# 29 March 2015 01:28 (UTC +04:00)

Iraqi troops killed 27 militants in Tikrit, the administrative center of the northern province of Saladin, and 40 others in Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar, Iraq's Ministry of Defense said in a statement, adding that the troops also destroyed an armored vehicle belonging to the militants.

Another seven militants were killed in clashes with Kurdish Peshmerga in the town of Sinjar, located 120 km west of Mosul, Lieutenant Shirzad Zahuli of Peshmerga forces told The Anadolu Agency.

Seven security forces were killed, and 18 others wounded in clashes in southern Tikrit, an Iraqi officer, Halid ad-Deraji told The Anadolu Agency earlier Saturday.

Deraji said that the security forces continued to defuse bombs placed by terrorists in the region.

Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militias launched a ground offensive against Daesh on March 2 to recapture Tikrit, a Sunni-majority strategic city about 110 miles (180 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad.

The battle is seen as a critical test for Iraqi ground forces to seal off militants from their strongholds in northern Iraq, particularly the city of Mosul.

Clashes between Iraqi forces and Daesh have been ongoing since June 2014 when the armed group seized Mosul and other territories in Iraq.

This prompted the U.S. to form an international coalition, which has launched numerous airstrikes againstDaesh targets in both Iraq and Syria since August.