The Islamic State has claimed the capture of the town of Hit in Anbar Province in western Iraq.
Sunni militias, fighting alongside the Iraqi Government, said the battle was ongoing. State TV said Islamic State fighters had occupied the mayor’s office and police station and were still fighting the local Albu Nimr tribe.
“Ninety percent of Hit has been overrun by militants,” said Adnan al-Fahdawi, a member of Anbar Province’s Council.
An eyewitness told Reuters, “Scores of militants can be seen in the town with their vehicles and weapons, I can hear shooting now everywhere.”
Security sources said the assault began with three suicide car bombs at the eastern entrance to Hit and a police station.
Hit is 30 km (19 miles) from Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, and 130 km (80 miles) west of Baghdad. Its capture would put the Islamic State in a position to attack the Ain al-Asad military base in the nearby town of al-Baghdadi.
Insurgents, led by the Islamic State, seized territory across the province in January, including parts of Ramadi and the city of Fallujah.