Iraqi forces beat back fresh assault on Haditha
Iraqi forces and tribal fighters have beaten back a fresh assault by Sunni fighters on the town of Haditha, strategic for the large nearby dam and its oil refinery, police say.
Battles also erupted Saturday in the central province of Diyala as security forces fought back against Islamic State group fighters who have seized large areas of territory and a string of towns and cities in an offensive launched on June 9.
The violence comes a day before Iraq's deeply-divided politicians are to hold a parliament session aimed at reviving flagging efforts to form a government in the face of the onslaught.
The attack on Haditha, located northwest of Baghdad in Anbar province on the road linking Islamic State-held Western areas and the provincial capital, began with mortar fire, police said.
Gunmen travelling in vehicles, including some captured from security forces, then attacked from two sides but were kept from entering the town in fighting that left 13 rebel fighters and four police dead, officers and a doctor said.
While there have been previous attacks on Haditha, they have not been on this scale. Capture of the dam by the rebels would raise the prospect of it being used to flood towns and villages downstream.
The Sunni fighters earlier this year caused major flooding by releasing water from another dam in Anbar province.