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Iraq Claims Further Advances Against IS Fighters

Peshmerga fighters fire toward Islamic State positions during heavy clashes in Duz-Khurmatu on August 31.

Officials say Iraqi troops and Kurdish forces on September 1 retook two more towns from Islamic State (IS) fighters.

Officials said government troops backed by Shi'ite militias and Kurdish Peshmerga forces recaptured the northern town of Suleiman Bek.

The Peshmerga also said they regained control of the town of Zumar.

The reported advances came after Iraqi government and Peshmerga forces, backed by U.S. air strikes, regained control of Amirli on August 31.

The mainly Turkoman Shi'ite town had been besieged for some two months by the extremist Sunni group.

IS and its allies control large parts of northern and western Iraq as well as northeastern Syria.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, defending her government's decision to send weapons to the Peshmerga, said on September 1 that Islamic State is a major security threat to both Germany and Europe.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters