Iraqi security forces and allied militiamen fought Islamic State (IS) militants and recaptured large parts of a town located near the major air base of Ain al-Asad which houses hundreds of US troops in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, a provincial security source said Saturday.

The security forces and Sunni tribesmen backed by US and Iraqi aircraft launched an offensive in the early morning hours on the town of al-Baghdadi, some 200 km northwest of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, and seized the central part of the town, including the town hall and its police station, after hours of heavy fighting with the extremists, the source told Xinhua news agency on condition of anonymity.

The troops engaged the IS militants in several pockets in the northern and northeastern parts of the town, the source said.

“The town is almost under the control of the security forces and the battles are under way to push back the militants with the support from the US Apache helicopters,” the source added.

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