Xinhua) -- At least 17 people were killed on Thursday in separate clashes and attacks in Iraq, sources said.
At least nine gunmen were killed in the city of Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, when Iraqi security forces carried out an operation to retake several districts which had been under the control of insurgents since late Wednesday night, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The troops also captured 13 suspects and seized some weapons and ammunition, while clashes were still underway in parts of the city after the troops regained some areas, the source said.
In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, at least three militants were killed and 10 others wounded when security forces backed by two helicopters involved in fierce clashes with militants in villages surrounding the town of Qara-Tappa, some 160 km northeast of Baghdad, Rahim al-Bieji, head of the town council, told Xinhua.
"The town council's members and the security leaders in Qara- Tappa held an urgent meeting to discuss the clashes after the increasing emergence of the al-Naqshabandiyah organization during the past 24 hours in many villages surrounding the town," al-Beiji said.
"The militants are trying to seize the town by cutting the roads to prevent the military reinforcement from the nearby city of Jalawlaa," a security source in Qara-Tappa told Xinhua.
"The reinforcement troops have been engaged in fierce battles with the militants in three areas close to the villages of Hudhaifa and Kashkol in east and south of Qara-Tappa," the source said.
In Iraq's central province of Salahudin, unidentified gunmen shot dead a soldier in an attack on an army patrol in the eastern part of the provincial capital city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, a local police source said anonymously.
Two more soldiers were wounded by a mortar attack on their checkpoint near the city of Yathrib, some 80 km north of Baghdad, the source said.
Elsewhere, gunmen using silenced weapons shot dead two members of anti-al-Qaida Sunni paramilitary group, also named Awakening Council group, in central the city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, a local police source said.
Also in the city, gunmen assaulted a police checkpoint in al- Askari district, killing two policemen and wounding another, the source said.
Thursday's violence came two days after clashes erupted between Iraqi security forces and anti-government Sunni protesters in Hawijah, after hundreds of security members backed by helicopters stormed a sit-in by Sunni Arabs in the city, which sparked further clashes across Iraq between the Sunni tribes and the security forces.