World

Iraqi army in fierce battle with Islamic State militants after deadly ambush near Fallujah

CLARIFYING IDENTITY OF MAN. A member of the Iraqi security forces aims his weapon to attack Islamic State group militants on al-Houz bridge on the Euphrates river in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, April 24, 2015. Iraqi security forces recaptured a key bridge from Islamic militants in the capital of western Anbar on Friday, said an Iraqi security official, as top Shiite cleric renewed calls for national unity among political groups in the face of Islamic militant group. (AP Photo)

CLARIFYING IDENTITY OF MAN. A member of the Iraqi security forces aims his weapon to attack Islamic State group militants on al-Houz bridge on the Euphrates river in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, April 24, 2015. Iraqi security forces recaptured a key bridge from Islamic militants in the capital of western Anbar on Friday, said an Iraqi security official, as top Shiite cleric renewed calls for national unity among political groups in the face of Islamic militant group. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Iraqi military authorities say there are fierce clashes northeast of Fallujah between the army and Islamic State militants following an ambush Friday that killed a general and staff officers.

Militants launched a complex ambush involving a bulldozer packed with explosives against a convoy, killing 1st Division commander Brig. Gen. Hassan Abbas Toufan and three staff officers in the Nadhem al-Taqseem region south of Lake Tharthar.

Two Iraqi officials said Saturday that troops have been rushed to the area and are now fighting in this rural region dotted with small villages. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

In the past weeks, the Iraqi army has been focusing on pushing Islamic State militants out of Anbar province and has been reporting incremental progress.