World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraqi troops backed by helicopter gunships fought on Saturday to retake full control of a northern town from fighters who overran parts of it earlier this week, the mayor and other local officials said.
Talib Mohammed, the mayor of Sulaiman Pek, 160 km (100 miles) north of Baghdad, said the army had met fierce resistance in some parts of the town, after gaining some ground on Friday.
"Snipers and roadside bombs are preventing the army from totally controlling the town," he said. "A police captain was killed by a sniper this morning while he was trying to evacuate his family."
Fighters raised the black flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - a Sunni group also fighting in neighbouring Syria - over parts of Sulaiman Pek on Thursday.
An army captain in Sulaiman Pek said snipers were hindering bomb disposal teams faced with dozens of explosive devices.
"Our job is not easy, it's a guerrilla war," said Captain Falah Abdul-Ameer. "Snipers are a big issue now. We can't work out their exact location, they shoot and change places."
South of Baghdad, ISIL members killed at least eight soldiers in overnight clashes in Jurf al-Sakhar, 60 km (40 miles) from the capital, army and police sources said.
They said 12 people were also killed in the fighting, which started when the army responded to reports of insurgents gathering in the swamps and orchards in the area.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki visited an army base west of Ramadi on Friday night to meet military commanders and tribal leaders, and discuss army operations, local officials said.Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2014, 17:04