BAGHDAD — Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribal fighters launched an offensive on Tuesday to dislodge ISIS militants and secure a supply route in Anbar province, police and tribal sources said.
Meanwhile, bomb attacks across the country killed at least 32 people.
The deadliest was when a car packed with explosives was detonated in the mainly Shi'ite district of New Baghdad in northeastern Baghdad, killing 16 people and wounding 48.
The pro-government offensive focused on ISIS militants near the western outpost of Haditha in a bid to secure a route to the nearby Ain al-Asad military base.
Haditha and its nearby dam are in one of the few parts of the Sunni Muslim province of Anbar still under the control of Iraq's Shi'ite-led government forces, who were driven out of the provincial capital Ramadi in May. The offensive started with army and police forces backed by Sunni tribal fighters attacking the Albu Hayat area, 12 miles southeast of Haditha, police and tribal sources said.
Militants have used the area to strike the supply route to Ain al-Asad where U.S. Marines are training Iraqi troops.
"We are attacking Daesh from three directions and we will not retreat until retaking Albu Hayat to secure not only Haditha but the supply route to the base", said Sunni tribal leader Khalid Mijbil al-Nimrawi, using a pejorative term for ISIS. Advancing troops faced heavy fire from the radical Sunni militants who seized swathes of Iraq's north and west last year, sources said.
As well as the bombing in New Baghdad, two others were killed in bomb attacks in Zafaraniya, the predominantly Shi'ite southern district of the capital.
At least six soldiers and policemen were killed in a suicide attack at a checkpoint in the central town of Tarmiya, police and medical sources said. Another eight people were killed and 16 wounded when a car bomb went off in a busy commercial street in Mandali, a predominately Kurdish Shi'ite town northeast of Baghdad.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but Shi'ite areas and government forces are often targeted by Sunni Islamist insurgents.