- The Washington Times - Friday, March 6, 2015

A multinational coalition that has been tracking and destroying Islamic State militants operating in Iraq and Syria claims to have won a battle against those militants over the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi.

Coalition members and Iraqi security forces have been fighting the Islamic State terror group for control of the town for the past several months and were this month able to pry from the group’s clutches an Iraqi police station, three Euphrates River bridges and several villages surrounding the town, according to a Combined Joint Task Force statement.

Combined Joint Task Force is the public mouthpiece for the more than 60-member coalition, known as Operation Inherent Resolve. The coalition has peppered the region with airstrikes since Feb. 22 in an effort to drive out the the extremist adversary, according to the statement issued Friday.

“In addition to airstrikes, the coalition supported the operation with surveillance assets and advise and assist teams who provided operational and intelligence assistance to Iraqi Security Force Headquarters Elements, which helped to enable them to successfully conduct the offensive operation,” the statement shows.

The fight to banish Islamic State forces from al-Baghdadi has resulted in several high-profile skirmishes. In February, 20 to 25 militants clad in Iraqi fighter uniforms and suicide vests launched a sophisticated attack on the nearby airbase of Ain al-Asad, the second largest U.S. airbase in Iraq. A U.S.-led training operation was taking place at the base at that time.

About 320 U.S. Marines have been training troops from the Iraqi 7th Division on how to combat the Islamic State at Ain al-Asad, Reuters reported.

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