Iraq forces report heavy losses in battle of Ramadi
BAGHDAD - A week of heavy fighting between security forces and the Islamic State jihadist group in the Ramadi area of Anbar province killed 30 police, a top officer said on Monday.
"The city of Ramadi witnessed heavy confrontations and fighting last week between security forces" and IS, Anbar police chief Staff Major General Kadhim al-Fahdawi said, putting the toll at 30 police killed and 100 wounded.
Parts of the capital of Anbar province have been out of government control since early 2014, and IS seized more territory in the Ramadi area this month.
Major attacks also hit other areas of Anbar last week, including three suicide bombings claimed by IS targeting the Iraqi side of the Trebil border crossing with Jordan on Saturday that officials said killed seven people.
And 13 soldiers, among them two senior officers, were killed in a bombing and clashes east of Ramadi on Friday, Defence Minister Khalid al-Obeidi said.
Obeidi on Sunday rejected reports that more than 100 soldiers were killed in the violence, which was originally said to have taken place in the Nadhim al-Tharthar area, but which he said was actually 30 kilometres (18 miles) to the south.
Rumours of the massive death toll sparked calls for a demonstration in Baghdad and for Obeidi to be questioned by parliament or resign.
Iraqi security forces control pockets of territory in Anbar, a vast desert province that stretches from the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to the western approaches to Baghdad.
But much of the province is held by IS, which spearheaded an offensive last June that overran swathes of territory north and west of Baghdad.