Iraq security forces battle jihadists on two fronts

Ongoing clashes

KIRKUK - Iraqi security forces backed by aircraft have repelled an insurgent attack on a northern Shiite Turkmen town, killing 15 militants, a local official said Thursday.
The attack by Islamic State (IS) insurgents and allied Sunni Islamist extremists on the town of Amirli took place Wednesday, said Talib al-Bayati, an official from nearby Suleiman Bek.
"Iraqi forces, with the help of military aircraft, repelled an attack on Amirli on three sides and killed 15 gunmen, according to an initial toll," said Bayati.
Amirli lies to the south of Suleiman Bek, which fell to an IS-led onslaught that swept parts of Iraq's north and west last month.
Also on Wednesday, government forces drove IS gunmen out of three northern districts of the city of Baquba, capital of Diyala province in eastern Iraq, security and medical sources said.
They said two members of the security forces were killed in the fighting and 11 others wounded.
On Thursday, a suicide car bomb against a police checkpoint in Taji killed at least two policemen and a civilian, a police colonel said.
A medical source in the town, only 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of Baghdad, confirmed the death toll.
A roadside bomb also killed three people and wounded 10 outside a Shiite prayer hall in a central Baghdad market, security and medical sources said.
In Iraq's north, the commander of Kurdish peshmerga forces in the city of Kirkuk was wounded along with six bodyguards in clashes with IS gunmen that broke out on Wednesday.
"Peshmerga Brigadier General Shirko Rauf was wounded with six of his bodyguards this afternoon in clashes in western Kirkuk," said a senior security source, declining to be named.
"The clashes have been ongoing since yesterday, and have resulted in the deaths of two peshmerga and the wounding of 53 others.
"Around 20 gunmen belonging to Daash were killed," the source added, referring to the former Arabic acronym for IS.