Militants attacked checkpoints with suicide bombing, grenades and guns, officials say
Most of those killed and injured were members of Iraqi security forces and Awakening Councils
ISIS also took over police station in Anbar's capital, killing several police officers, officials say
Dozens of militants – believed to be ISIS members – attacked several Iraqi security posts and checkpoints in western Iraq’s Anbar province Tuesday morning, leaving at least 11 people dead and 18 others wounded, security officials in Iraq said.
The attacks, involving a suicide bomber, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, happened in the town of Jubbat al Shamiya, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, security officials in the Anbar capital of Ramadi said.
Anbar is a western province largely controlled by ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Sunni Muslim extremist group that has used brutal tactics such as mass kidnappings, beheadings and other abuses against civilians and armed foes to capture vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria in the past few years.
Most of those killed and wounded in Tuesday’s attacks were Iraqi security force and local Awakening Council members, the security officials said.
Awakening Councils, also known as the Sons of Iraq and Sahawat, are made up of Sunni Muslim fighters who turned against al Qaeda and have been active in Iraq since 2006.
The U.S.-backed councils were credited as being a major factor in a drop in violence across Iraq a few years ago, after the strife that followed the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in 2003.
But council members recently have become targets for ISIS, which has waged war to establish what it says is an Islamic caliphate.
Also Tuesday, ISIS militants attacked the Albu Risha police station in northern Ramadi, killing several police officers and injuring at least two other people, the security officials said.
The battle for the station began early Tuesday, the Ramadi security officials said. After about two hours of clashes between ISIS militants and police officers, ISIS managed to take over the station.
Ramadi is about 70 miles (110 kilometers) west of Baghdad. The Anbar capital has been one of the province’s few holdouts against ISIS.
Anbar is home to Al Asad Air Base, where 320 U.S. troops, mostly Marines, are stationed as part of an effort to advise and assist Iraqi forces fighting ISIS.
ISIS’ campaign, and the military response to it by Iraqi forces supported by air power from a U.S.-led international coalition, left a bloody toll in Iraq in 2013. At least 17,049 civilians were recorded killed in Iraq last year, roughly double the number recorded in 2013, according to the Iraq Body Count monitoring project.
CNN’s Laura Smith-Spark and Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.