%AM, %27 %400 %2016 %03:%Feb

Militants launch largest attacks in months on Baghdad outskirts

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BAGHDAD Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked Iraqi army and police posts on the western outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 12 security forces and seizing positions in a grain

silo and a cemetery, officials said.

The largest assault near the capital in months was still raging, said security officials who blamed Islamic State. A news agency that supports Islamic State said the group had launched a "wide attack" in Abu Ghraib.

Suicide bombers in vehicles and on foot attacked government positions 25 km (15 miles) from the center of Baghdad and next to the international airport, government officials said.

Dozens of militants driving Humvees and pickup trucks fixed with machine guns attacked from the nearby Islamic State-controlled areas of Garma and Falluja, army and police sources added.

The Amaq news agency said Iraqi forces had been forced to retreat from several locations. But the Iraqi security sources said the militants had been forced out of a police station and several army positions and had dug in at the cemetery and the silo, part of which was set on fire.

A military statement said at least four suicide attackers were killed around the silo, with another 20 militants holed up inside.

(Reporting by Kareem Raheem; Writing by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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