Mideast Iraq ViolenceBaghdad: Fierce clashes continued in Iraq as security forces launched airstrikes against Sunni rebels across several provinces in the country, security and medical sources said.

Iraqi aircraft pounded several neighbourhoods and a popular market in the city of Shirqat, 280 km north of Baghdad, destroying five houses and killing 18 people, Xinhua quoted a provincial police source as saying on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, fierce clashes took place in Salahudin, provincial capital of Tikrit, 170 km north of Baghdad, and the security forces managed to retake control of the headquarters of the army’s 4th division just south of Tikrit, military spokesman Qassim Atta said in Baghdad.

Iraqi military aircraft carried out air strikes against the insurgents posts north of the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km north-east of Baghdad, killing 60 rebels, Atta said.