According to Iraqi officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity on Sunday, the Iraqi army fought the militants around the strategic city of Ramadi, The Associated Press reported.
The officials said that 22 soldiers and 12 civilians were killed and 58 people were wounded in the clashes. The sources said that an unknown number of militants were also killed in the fighting.
Earlier in the day, Iraqi jets launched an airstrike against the militants in Ramadi on the Euphrates River, killing 25 al-Qaeda-linked militants.
Iraqi security forces are preparing for a major attack on Fallujah. According to a security official, Special Forces have conducted several operations in the city on Sunday.
The cities of Fallujah and Ramadi have been the scene of deadly clashes between security forces and the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants over the past days.
The fighting left more than 100 people dead in the two flashpoint cities on Friday, security officials said.
The violence broke out on December 30, 2013, when the army removed an anti-government protest camp in Ramadi. Authorities said the camp was used as “headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda.”
However, the move prompted 44 Iraqi lawmakers to announce their resignation and call for “the withdrawal of the army.”
The withdrawal cleared the way for militants from the terrorist group of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which operates in Iraq and Syria.
The people of Fallujah and Ramadi soon called for the return of the army to the restive cities to restore order.
By Press TV
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