" Iraq has been plagued with violence for years since the US- led occupation of the country, but the situation has deteriorated dramatically with the spillover of violence from the raging conflict in neighbouring Syria."
Baghdad, Aug 13 - At least 26 people were killed and 36 wounded in Iraq in clashes between government forces and Sunni insurgents Wednesday, police sources said.

In Salahudin province, at least 12 people were killed, including three children, and 16 others wounded when the army artillery pounded al-Zuhour district in the provincial capital city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, Xinhua quoted a provincial police source as saying.

Four houses and six cars were also destroyed by the bombardment in the militant-seized city.

Fierce clashes erupted between Iraqi security forces and Sunni militant groups, including the Islamic State (IS) group, an Al Qaeda offshoot, in the town of Uoja, some 12 km south of Tikrit, leaving nine militants killed and 13 others wounded, the source said.

In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, clashes occurred near the town of Jalawlaa, some 130 km northeast of Baghdad, when insurgent groups tried to advance toward the city of Khanaqin, some 165 km northeast of Baghdad, which is under control of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

The Peshmerga forces repelled the militants outside Jalawlaa and killed at least four of them, destroying four of their vehicles, while a Peshmerga member was killed and seven others were wounded, a police source said.

In Jalawlaa, the insurgents blew up 20 houses belonging to Kurdish residents who fled their homes earlier when the militants seized the town two days ago, the source added.

Iraq has been plagued with violence for years since the US- led occupation of the country, but the situation has deteriorated dramatically with the spillover of violence from the raging conflict in neighbouring Syria.

The IS, a regional armed Islamist militia fighting in Syria, has gained significant ground in Iraq, especially in the Sunni areas. Over recent days, the militants stormed towns in the northern part of Iraq in its advance to other parts of the country.


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