Iraqi forces kill 50 ISIL militants in Anbar

Iraqi armed forces have killed 50 militants from the al-Qaeda-linked group of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the western province of Anbar, reports say.

The deaths were reported on Sunday as the government forces continue their operations against the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in the province.

On Saturday, Iraqi soldiers, police and pro-government militias embarked on major offensives against the militants in Anbar’s cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.

At least 35 militants were killed and large amounts of weaponry were seized in the clashes, which were among the heaviest in the past weeks.

Aerial bombardment and artillery fire on a neighborhood in northern Fallujah also killed 15 militants, according to the Iraqi Defense Ministry.

The operations come as part of efforts made by the Iraqi government to regain full control of the areas in the hands of militants.

Violence erupted in Anbar on December 30, 2013, when the army removed an anti-government camp in the city of Ramadi.

Iraqi authorities said the camp had been used as “headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda.”

The bloodshed later spread to Fallujah and militants moved in and seized the city and parts of Ramadi.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 140,000 people have left their homes amid raging clashes in Anbar Province.