BAGHDAD — Government forces and Shiite militiamen repelled two Islamic State group attacks in Anbar province on Saturday, officials said. In one attack, they used anti-tank missiles to stop four would-be suicide car bombers.
Police and military officials said IS fighters attacked the government-held town of Husseiba with heavy mortar fire early Saturday. They say the attackers retreated after an hours-long battle, leaving behind three destroyed vehicles and five dead fighters. At least 10 troops and militiamen were wounded in the clash.
Iraqi forces took Husseiba, near the militant-held provincial capital of Ramadi, from the IS group last month.
The officials said that elsewhere in Anbar province, Iraqi troops using Russian anti-tank Kornet missiles destroyed four incoming suicide car bombs during an IS attack in the Tharthar area.
Iraqi forces, backed by Shiite militias, have been struggling to recapture areas lost to the IS group in the country’s west and north. Last month the militant group scored a stunning victory, overrunning Ramadi and capturing large amounts of ammunition and armored vehicles from fleeing government troops.
In the aftermath of the Ramadi defeat, Iraqi officials have stepped up calls for more weapons and more direct support from the U.S. and the international community.
During an international conference in Paris this week on the fight against the Islamic State group, a senior U.S. official pledged to make it easier to get weapons, including U.S. anti-tank rockets, to the Iraqi soldiers that need them.
Meanwhile, police said a bomb exploded at a commercial street in the Taji area, just north of Baghdad, killing two people and wounding five others. Another bomb blast near several shops killed three people and wounded eight others in the capital’s southern suburbs.
Medical officials confirmed the death tolls. All officials in Baghdad and Anbar spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists.
Iraq sees near-daily bombings frequently claimed by the Islamic State Group, which seized large parts of the country during a stunning blitz last year.
SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press