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Iran Press TV

Militants seize part of N Iraq town, nearby villages

Iran Press TV

Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:39PM GMT

Al-Qaeda-linked militants have seized part of the Salahuddin provincial town of Sulaiman Bek and nearby villages in northern Iraq.

The takeover took place on Thursday, with local official Shallal Abdul Baban saying the militants were in control of western Sulaiman Bek and three nearby villages.

Militants armed with light and medium weapons attacked army positions and overran the town center early in the day.

Militants attacked Sulaiman Bek last July and executed 14 Shia Muslim truck drivers on a nearby highway. The town was also briefly seized by militants in late April.

The Thursday takeover comes as gunmen control all of one major city and part of another in the western province of Anbar.

Violence erupted in Anbar province on December 30, 2013, when the army removed a protest camp in the city of Ramadi. Iraqi authorities said the camp had been used as "headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda."

The bloodshed later spread to Fallujah as the militants moved in and seized the city and parts of Ramadi.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said on Thursday that government troops were close to rooting out militants in Anbar province.

''We are on the threshold of final decisiveness, God willing, to mop up remnants of the terrorists who take shelter in this house or that government office,' he stated.

Maliki also said there was an urgent need for a government plan to return life in the province back to normal.

''As the terrorists started to detain citizens as human shields, the government was seriously beginning to settle the security situation in Anbar province,' he added.

HN/MAM/MHB



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