The areas which were controlled by ISIL only a few days ago are now liberated, with around 135 ISIL militants being killed during clashes, according to a statement released by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.
In the northern province of Saladin, 15 ISIL militants were killed. The fighting took place in the Saayweiya district located in the south of the governate's largest city, Samarra, which Shiites consider holy.
Khaled Al-Jassam, a member of the security committee in Saladin governorate’s council, disputed the ministry’s statement, saying that 60 ISIL fighters were killed in the clashes.
“The Iraqi army and Al-Hashd Al-Shabii -- a pro-government Shiite militia -- killed around 60 ISIL fighters during the clashes and managed to force the militants to retreat entirely from the Motasim region,” Al-Jassam told The Anadolu Agency.
“Iraqi forces are completely in control of the Motasim region and Samarra city is not under threat from ISIL,” he added.
Another operation was launched on Friday in the western governorate of Anbar.
The operation aimed to retake the village of Al-Dolab, located in the east of the province, which was overrun by ISIL a few days ago.
Pro-government tribal fighters and police forces are supporting Iraqi army forces, according to Mallullah Al-Abeedy, a government official.
“Iraqi forces managed to kill 60 ISIL militants including the militant in charge of Al-Dolab village. ISIL retreated to the eastern area of Mahbubiya, which Iraqi forces have been trying to retake for weeks,” Al-Abeedy added.
The rate of armed conflict has increased during the past four months between ISIL and Iraqi security forces in the western province of Anbar.
ISIL controls many areas of the governorate and is attempting to completely control the provincial capital, Ramadi city.
The U.S. is leading an international coalition which has carried out numerous airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria since the militant group overran Mosul, in northern Iraq, in June.