Two senior Iraqi commanders have been killed and 10 others injured in a suicide car bomb attack north of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, where fierce fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group is continuing, sources have told Al Jazeera.

Brigadier Abderahman Muqtada Abu al-Ris, deputy Anbar Commander and Brigadier Safin Abdelmajid, commander of the 10th division, were killed in the attack on Thursday, along with three others.


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Brigadier General Yahya Rasool told state TV that the military had intercepted an explosives-laden vehicle that hit the forces, "but the resulting explosion led to [their] martyrdom". 

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Separately, three people were killed in a suicide car bomb targeting a police checkpoint in the town of Bajwa, 15km northwest of Kirkuk. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either of the assaults.

The military and police, backed by Shia militias, Sunni tribal fighters and US-led coalition air strikes, are fighting to retake the city, 100km west of Baghdad, from the ISIL group.

But progress has been slow and both sides have been suffering heavy casualties in the fight for Anbar.

Anbar has been rocked by violence since the beginning of 2014, months before ISIL launched a nationwide offensive that saw it conquer large expanses of the region.

It is currently the main focus of the Iraqi government's efforts to regain lost ground, with large military operations under way in several parts of the province and multiple daily air strikes by jets from the US-led coalition.

Anbar stretches from Iraq's western borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia all the way east along the Euphrates to the outskirts of Baghdad. 

In July, an official said that more than 1,500 schools have been damaged or destroyed as a result of the conflict in Iraq's Anbar province alone.

 

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies