Islamic State militants encircle air base as they reinforce control of Anbar Province

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By Kareem Zair

Azzaman, October 23, 2014

Islamic State (IS) militants have made more gains in the Province of Anbar despite the tough resistance by Iraqi troops, tribesmen and Shiite militias.

The militants are reported to have encircled al-Assad airbase, which is the largest in Anbar and mounted several onslaughts to break into the few towns they have been besieging for nearly three months.

With fighting rages in five Iraqi provinces, IS militants have continued their deadly suicide and car bombings inside the Iraqi capital, targeting mainly neighborhoods that are predominantly inhabited by Shiites.

On Wednesday two cars were detonated in Baghdad, killing at least 14 people and injuring 40 mostly in al-Sadr City, a low-income Shiite district.

U.S. and allied warplanes have continued their bombing raids of IS positions in central Iraq in a bid to deter the militants from deploying in areas close to the capital Baghdad.

IS militants are reported to be increasing their pressure in areas west of Baghdad, which the Iraq government has reinforced with armored vehicles and tanks.

The latest attack by IS which involved a force of more than 400 militants was reported to have repelled outside Ameriyat Falluja on the way from Baghdad to the strategic town of Falluja, which is currently under IS’s control.

There have been no reports on number of casualties from both sides. The government gives no details on its own losses in fighting IS and IS provides no information on its own losses.

However, both provide information about the other side’s casualties, which are difficult to verify.