More than 38 people were killed on Wednesday in air strikes and clashes across Iraq while the government troops fought with insurgent militant groups and seized a small dam in eastern the country, security sources said.
In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militias and helicopter gunships retook control of a small dam on the Udhiem River after heavy clashes with the Islamic State militant group, in the northern part of the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The troops managed to seize several villages around the dam, leaving undetermined number of the militants killed, including their local leader, and destroyed several of their vehicles, the source said.
In Nineveh province, an Iraqi aircraft fired a rocket on a police station, which is believed to militants' house, in the city of Mosul, leaving three women killed and three civilians and a child wounded, a provincial police source said, adding that the victims were members of one family who lived in one of the destroyed houses.
In Salahudin province, Iraqi aircraft carried out air strikes on Islamic State positions in north and east of the town of Duluiyah, some 90 km north of Baghdad, killing up to 20 militants, a provincial police source told Xinhua.
In a separate incident, an Iraqi helicopter gunship pounded a safe house of Islamic State militants in east of Duluiyah, killing the leader of the local group and eight of his aides, the source said.
Also near Duluiyah, five militants of the Islamic State group were killed and five others wounded in two bomb attacks, the source added.
Duluiyah, has been under the siege of the Islamic State group for several weeks, as the tribesmen of Sunni tribe of al-Jubour rejected the militants and fought them to prevent their presence in their town. The tribal fighters and local police have repelled many attacks by the Islamic State militants which tried to capture the town. BAGHDAD, Sept. 3 (Xinhua)
PENTAGON REAFFIRMS MISSION TO DISABLE IS
The U.S. military on Wednesday vowed to degrade and destroy the Islamic State (IS)'s capabilities to threaten the country and its allies.
During a CNN program at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Pentagon "will do everything possible that we can do to destroy their capacity to inflict harm on our people and Western values and our interests."
"We're doing that, as the president said -- not just militarily, because that is but one component," Hagel said. "The president (Barack Obama) has been very clear on that point."
The defense secretary said that "a stable, new, inclusive government in Iraq, which we're hopeful will be in place next week," also is important. The people of Iraq and the Middle East ultimately will determine their future, and the United States can support them, he added.
He said Obama has made clear that he wants the Congress involved with him, because the effort requires authorizations, airstrikes and funding.
Hagel noted that not only the United States, but also its allies like Britain regard the IS as a threat to the West and their values.
Part of the threat, Hagel said, is that over 100 U.S. citizens who hold U.S. passports are fighting in the IS forces in the Middle East.
Describing the IS as "dangerous group of people beyond just a group of terrorists," Hagel stressed that as the IS now controls half of Iraq and Syria, it must be taken seriously. WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (Xinhua)