Iraq kills 18 Anbar militants as polls open

By Ali al-Mashhadani, Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Iraqi security forces killed 18 militants affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and Levant

Iraqi security forces killed 18 militants affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and Levant

BAGHDAD – Iraqi security forces killed 18 militants affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) on Wednesday in a security operation in the restive Anbar province, a security source said as Iraqis headed to the polls for a key parliament vote.

"Over 18 ISIL militants were killed in a security operation by joint army and police forces in Anbar's Karmah, Bou Jassem and Bou Obeid districts," the source, who asked not to be named, told Anadolu Agency.

Iraqi authorities are yet to comment on the reports.

The vote will take place amid myriad security challenges, particularly in the western, predominately-Sunni Anbar province and in certain parts of the country's north, where government forces continue to battle militant groups.

The Iraqi army has waged a major offensive in Anbar since last December with the stated aim of flushing militants – who Baghdad claims are linked to Al-Qaeda – from the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.

Many local Sunni tribes opposed to Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, meanwhile, continue to voice anger over the army operation's mounting civilian death toll.

Since the offensive began late last year, hundreds of civilians have been killed and injured in Ramadi and Fallujah, according to government officials.

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