Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP / Getty Images

ISIL fighters launch attack on Iraq's Ramadi

Local police say at least 10 killed in assault by fighters amid a government push to recapture territory

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has launched a coordinated attack on government-held areas in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, involving seven almost simultaneous suicide car bombs, police say.

At least 10 people were killed and 30 wounded in Wednesday's attacks, according to initial reports by police and hospital sources in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province about 60 miles west of Baghdad.

For months, the government has been staving off ISIL fighters who control most of Ramadi's neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city and regularly attack security forces in more central districts.

Police officers said clashes broke out in several areas following the multiple car bomb attacks Wednesday. Mortar rounds were fired on the provincial council headquarters.

The attacks came a day after Iraqi government forces and their allied fighters entered parts of Tikrit as part of a major offensive to recapture the strategic city from ISIL.

The Iraqi government says it is hoping that a victory in Tikrit will persuade Sunnis elsewhere to rise up against ISIL as the operation proceeds north into Mosul.

But the advance of government forces and Shia militias into Tikrit has also stoked sectarian tensions.

On Tuesday, Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr issued a statement urging the Iraqi government to investigate and punish anyone using "excessive violence" against the Sunni residents from areas recently liberated from ISIL.

The statement came after reprisal attacks in al-Ojail, where fighters from an armed group, the League of the Righteous headed by Qais al-Khazali, reportedly ransacked and burned houses belonging to Sunni residents.

Al-Khazali had said his group was working under the guidance of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Quds Brigade, who has been seen directing operations on the eastern flank of Tikrit.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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