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Iraqi official: Fierce clashes underway between security forces, IS group over western town

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BAGHDAD — A military spokesman says fierce clashes are underway between Iraqi forces and extremists from the Islamic State group in and around a small western town.

Qassim al-Moussawi says the fighting started at dawn Thursday when the militants, using at least three suicide bombers, attacked checkpoints at the entrances of Hit, a town about 140 kilometers (85 miles) west of Baghdad.

He says there are causalities among the security forces but that no precise figure is available.

The fighting over Hit in western Anbar province comes as Iraqi Kurdish security forces, known as peshmerga, have dislodged militants from northwestern towns of Rabia, Zumar and Mahmoudiyah, with the assistance of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition.

The Islamic State group captured large swaths of Iraq and Syria in a blitz this summer.

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