At least 16 Iraqi border guards have been killed in a dawn assault by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group on their post near the Syrian frontier, provincial and security officials have said.
Faleh al-Issawi, deputy head of the Anbar provincial council, told the AFP news agency on Monday that “16 border guards, including a captain, were killed and four wounded in an attack targeting their headquarters in al-Walid, near the Syrian border”.
He said the attack occurred at around 6:00am (03:00 GMT) on Monday.
A commander in the Iraqi border force and a police major confirmed the death toll.
A tribal leader in the ISIL-controlled town of Rutba, 130km southeast of al-Walid, told Reuters that the fighters seized guns and vehicles and brought them back to Rutba, firing guns in celebration as they arrived.
The al-Walid crossing is one of the country’s most remote outposts and lies near the westernmost point in Anbar province where the borders of Iraq, Syria and Jordan meet.
While they have lost some ground in other parts of the country, ISIL fighters have sought to maintain momentum in Anbar, attacking the centre of the provincial capital Ramadi last week.