Associated Press
December 23, 2013

A new wave of attacks across Iraq killed at least 20 people and wounded dozens on Monday as the government pressed on with its offensive to hunt down al-Qaeda-linked militants in the country’s volatile western desert.

The military operation in Anbar province followed the weekend killing of a senior military commander, a colonel and five soldiers in an ambush there during a raid on a militant hideout early Saturday.

A government statement said security forces backed by helicopters have been combing the desert near the borders with Syria and Jordan. Syria’s civil war and chaos have led to widespread cross-border movement of al-Qaeda fighters between the two countries.

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