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At least 20 Islamic State militants were killed by Iraqi paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units in a conflict in the desert area near the Syrian border on Monday, a statement said.

The Hashd Shaabi units, backed by helicopter gunships, fought heavy clashes with IS militants when dozens of extremists attacked the military base at the border post of Tal Sufoug near Syria, Xinhua news agency cited the statement as saying.

The paramilitary units are deployed in the desert near the Syrian border to prevent cross-border IS movement between Iraq and Syria.

On May 29, the units made their first arrival at the border after they freed al-Qahtaniyah town near the Syrian border.

On July 10, Abadi officially declared Mosul’s liberation from IS after nearly nine months of fierce fighting to dislodge the extremist militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq.

The Iraqi forces still have to wage more offensives to drive out the IS from their redoubts in Kirkuk, the adjacent sprawling rugged areas in Salahudin province, in addition to the remaining IS strongholds in the border towns with Syria, including Aana, Rawa, and al-Qaim.

First Published | 31 July 2017 5:48 PM
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