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AFP

Iraq forces destroy
militant camps in Anbar

BAGHDAD - The Iraqi military attacked camps belonging to an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group in Anbar province, destroying two, the defense ministry said on Monday.

 

After locating camps with aircraft, Iraqi forces launched "successful strikes... resulting in the destruction of two camps in the desert of Anbar," spokesperson Mohammed al-Askari said in an statement.

 

The assaults came after five senior officers, including a divisional commander, and 10 soldiers were killed during an operation against militants in the mainly Sunni western province of Anbar.

 

Askari told AFP on Sunday that the civil war in neighboring Syria was driving violence in Iraq.

 

Aerial photographs and other information pointed to "the arrival of weapons and advanced equipment from Syria to the desert of western Anbar and the border of Nineveh province," he said.

 

This has encouraged Al-Qaeda-linked militants to "revive some of their camps that were eliminated by security forces in 2008 and 2009," Askari said, adding that aerial photos showed 11 militant camps near the border with Syria.

 

"Photographs and intelligence information indicate that whenever there is pressure on armed groups in Syria, they withdraw to Iraq... to regroup and then carry out terrorist operations in the two countries," Askari said.

 

Violence in Iraq has reached a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a period of brutal sectarian killings.

 

More than 6,650 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

Iraqi forces launched 'successful strikes.'