At least 10 suicide attackers from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attempted to storm one of the largest army bases in Iraq, according to the country’s military.
A Iraqi defence ministry spokesman told Al Jazeera that eight of the fighters were killed by soldiers at Ein el-Assad base on Saturday.
The source said that the two remaining fighters managed to blow themselves up, and added that further casualties were unconfirmed.
A separate source told Al Jazeera that at least 18 soldiers had been killed.
Ain al-Assad was the largest coalition base in western Iraq after the US invasion. Hundreds of US military advisors and trainers now use the base to support Iraqi troops.
Iraqi forces launched an offensive last week to retake Anbar province. Sixty to 70 percent of the province remains under the control of ISIL.
The attack came a day after suicide bomber blew himself up at a football stadium in Iskandariya, south of the capital Baghdad, killing at least 30 people and injuring 95 others.
ISIL later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said there has been an escalation of suicide bombings in areas outside ISIL’s control.
“According to Iraqi and US military sources, as ISIL loses the ability to launch large-scale attacks to gain territory, they are focusing on small attacks,” she said.
At least 60 people were killed earlier this month in an attack claimed by the group 80km further south of Baghdad, in Hilla, when an explosives-laden fuel tanker slammed into a government checkpoint.
Source: Al Jazeera