December 1, 2014 / 2:01 PM / 5 years ago

Islamic State militants kill 16 Iraqi soldiers on Syria border

A black flag belonging to the Islamic State is seen near the Syrian town of Kobani, as pictured from the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, October 6, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State fighters killed 16 Iraqi soldiers in an attack on a western border crossing with Syria on Monday, the head of the local provincial council Faleh al-Issawi said.

He said four other Iraqi soldiers were wounded in the attack on the al-Waleed border crossing and were taken across the border for treatment in Syria.

A tribal leader in the Islamic State-controlled town of Rutba, 80 miles (130 km) southeast of al-Waleed, said the fighters seized guns and vehicles and brought them back to Rutba, firing guns in celebration as they arrived.

The border crossing and the town of Rutba are both in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, a Sunni Muslim region where Islamic State had a strong presence even before it swept through Mosul and much of northern Iraq toward Baghdad in June.

While they have lost some ground in other parts of the country, Islamic State fighters have sought to maintain momentum in Anbar, attacking the center of the provincial capital Ramadi last week.

A month ago they killed hundreds of members of the Albu Nimr tribe, which had opposed them in the province.

Reporting by Saif Hameed; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Louise Ireland

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