BAGHDAD (dpa) – Islamic State fighters Wednesday seized a key supply route from government troops in northern Iraq, a local official said, the most significant breakthrough by the militant group in recent weeks.
The insurgents controlled the area of Dejla, north of the city of Samara, after a dawn attack during which they overtook all security checkpoints there and forced government forces to retreat, an official told dpa on the condition of anonymity.
“The insurgents started the operation by detonating an explosives-rigged truck near an army centre, resulting in the killing of nine soldiers and injuring five,” the official added.
Dejla is a major supply route for Iraqi government troops near Samara, which is around 110 kilometres north of the capital Baghdad.
Samara is the site of an important Shiite shrine and the most northerly major city controlled by the government.
Iraqi troops, backed by allied tribal fighters and a US-led air campaign, have recaptured several areas from Islamic State, which established a foothold in northern Iraq’s Sunni heartland in June.
The Sunni group also controls considerable territory in neighbouring Syria.