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Iraqi Troops Retake Two Towns          11/24 06:29

   BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi troops backed by Shiite militiamen and Kurdish 
security forces recaptured two towns seized previously by militants in an 
eastern province, said Iraqi officials on Monday, a new victory for Iraqi 
security forces in their attempt to regain areas lost to the militants.

   Police officials in Diyala province said that Iraqi forces entered the towns 
of Saadiya and Jalula late Sunday after fierce clashes with fighters from the 
Islamic State group.

   The fighting is still continuing with some pockets of resistance outside the 
two towns, said the police officials. Teams defusing unexploded ordnance are 
working to defuse roadside bombs planted in the streets by the militants before 
their withdrawal.

   Some families that fled the area have already started to come back to their 
homes in the two towns. Kurdish security forces, known also as peshmerga took 
part in the fighting against the IS group in both towns. Diyala province is 
ethnically mixed between Arabs and Kurds, and Jalula has a large Kurdish 

   All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not 
authorized to speak to the media.

   Islamic militants seized the towns of Jalula, 125 kilometers (80 miles) 
northeast of Baghdad, and Saadiya, 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of the 
capital in August after a stunning summer blitz which enabled the Islamic State 
group to take over large swaths of land in the country's north and west.


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