US

Iraqi forces battle IS in western town, far from Mosul

  • Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces advance toward Islamic State positions as fighting to retake the extremist-held city of Mosul enters its second week, in the village of Tob Zawa, outside Mosul, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. A convoy of special forces advanced toward the village of Tob Zawa, Monday, encountering roadside bombs and trading heavy fire with the militants.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces advance toward Islamic State positions as fighting to retake the extremist-held city of Mosul enters its second week, in the village of Tob Zawa, outside Mosul, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. A convoy of special forces advanced toward the village of Tob Zawa, Monday, encountering roadside bombs and trading heavy fire with the militants.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Children converse inside the Baharka camp for displaced persons on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Nearby Mosul, the largest city controlled by the Islamic State group, is still home to more than 1 million civilians. The government and international aid groups fear that a sudden mass exodus will overwhelm the few camps set up on its outskirts.(AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

    Children converse inside the Baharka camp for displaced persons on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Nearby Mosul, the largest city controlled by the Islamic State group, is still home to more than 1 million civilians. The government and international aid groups fear that a sudden mass exodus will overwhelm the few camps set up on its outskirts.(AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • A boy stands in front of his temporary home at the Baharka camp for displaced persons on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Nearby Mosul, the largest city controlled by the Islamic State group, is still home to more than 1 million civilians. The government and international aid groups fear that a sudden mass exodus will overwhelm the few camps set up on its outskirts.(AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

    A boy stands in front of his temporary home at the Baharka camp for displaced persons on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Nearby Mosul, the largest city controlled by the Islamic State group, is still home to more than 1 million civilians. The government and international aid groups fear that a sudden mass exodus will overwhelm the few camps set up on its outskirts.(AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)  (The Associated Press)

Iraqi forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, are battling Islamic State militants for a third day in a remote western town, hundreds of kilometers (miles) to the south of the operation to retake Mosul.

Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, says "fighting is ongoing in Rutba" on Tuesday and that the town is still contested.

He says the coalition strikes are supporting the Iraqi forces' "response efforts, including one against a Daesh convoy that was attempting to flee the area." Daesh is an Arabic acronym for the IS group.

The Iraqi military could not immediately be reached for comment.

IS launched a complex attack on Rutba on Sunday. Iraqi officials have said the situation is under control, but haven't provided details about the fighting or possible casualties.