Baghdad: A wave of 15 suicide car bomb attacks by the Islamic State group (IS) against Iraqi security forces was repelled east of the flashpoint city of Ramadi today with limited casualties, officials said.
The onslaught was the latest in a series of attacks by jihadists defending positions in Ramadi, which Iraqi forces, backed by US-led coalition air strikes, are trying to retake.
“Aircraft of the international coalition and Iraqi ground forces… Repelled a violent attack from Daesh,” police Captain Ahmed al-Dulaimi said, using an Arab acronym for IS.
He said 15 cars driven by suicide bombers from central Ramadi towards Husaybah were destroyed.
Dulaimi said Iraqi forces controlled the area attacked but that two members of the Anbar police died defending it.
Ibrahim al-Fahdawi, the head of the security commission in the local Khaldiya council, said six local policemen were also wounded.
He said several of the explosives-packed cars were stopped with Russian-made Kornet guided missiles.
Last week, forces led by Iraq’s elite counter-terrorism service retook a southwestern neighbourhood of Ramadi, of which IS had taken full control in mid-May.
The offensive marked a significant step in long-delayed efforts to recapture the city, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Baghdad and capital of the vast province of Anbar.
Truck bombs loaded with up to 10 tonnes of explosives and driven by suicide attackers were a key weapon in IS’s capture of Ramadi.
Analysts have described the vehicle-borne explosive devices as the jihadist group’s “air force”.
Since retaking the neighbourhood of Tameem and other positions last week, Iraqi forces have been mostly consolidating their gains and planning the next offensive.