ISIS fighters launched a major offensive just miles from a U.S. air base where American military advisers are stationed on Thursday, a senior security official and a tribal leader told NBC News.
Violent clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces supported by Sunni tribesman and ISIS fighters in Al-Baghdadi in western Anbar province. By Friday morning, Iraqi forces were back in control of the town, according to a security source.
ISIS fighters descended on Al-Baghdadi from several directions on Thursday and were able to take over the central police station in the town, as well as some other government buildings. They also burned a civic building where Iraqis obtain national ID cards and targeted Al-Baghdadi's communication towers, according to a security official and Ghazi Al-Gu'ood, a sheikh from Albu Nimer tribe.
Local media reported that ISIS fighters captured an Iraqi army commander and killed many soldiers and tribal fighters, as well local citizens. Those accounts could not immediately be verified by NBC News.
ISIS fighters started their attack early Thursday under the cover of a sandstorm that grounded Iraqi helicopters and fighter jets. The U.S.-led coalition followed the assault with airstrikes on ISIS positions around the town. The number of casualties on all sides was unclear.
Al-Baghdadi is just seven miles from Ain Al-Asad Air Base, where U.S. military advisers are located.
— Richie Duchon