Islamic State (Isis) militants have launched a second counter-offensive on an Iraqi town in western Anbar province hoping to divert attention and resources away from Mosul.
Since the operation by the Iraqi Army and Kurdish forces to retake Mosul Daesh (Isis) has attacked Kirkuk and now the town of Rutba, which sits about 70 miles from Jordan.
The mayor of Rutba described the IS attack on the town from three directions as "fierce", with police officers and members of the security forces reported to be among the dead.
Around 30 insurgents launched a surprise attack in the early hours of Sunday morning, using car suicide bombs and mortar fire.
The Iraqi army says that they have regained control of the town after repelling the fighters, and that IS failed to gain access to government buildings.
The attack comes after IS launched a similar counter-offensive strategy on Kirkuk on Friday, about 100 miles from Mosul, killing workers at a power plant in a suicide mission. The extremists attempted to storm a government compound in the town centre of Kirkuk killing at least 46 people and injuring dozens more.
The extremists attempted to storm a government compound in the town centre of Kirkuk, killing at least 46 people and injuring dozens more.
According to the BBC, Rutba's mayor Imad al-Dulaimi, said insurgents had gained access through sleeper cells in the town, which was freed from IS four months ago after being overran by the extremists in 2014.
The attack comes as Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched fresh attacks on IS positions near the town of Bashiqa. The predominantly Christian town of Bartella, was also taken on Friday – leaving a clear route into Mosul.
A report by Agence France Presse, citing the police chief of Kirkuk, said Iraqi forces killed nearly 48 IS militants in Kirkuk. And following the assault IS's Amaq news agency posted a video of people celebrating in Mosul after the surprise counter offensive.
The United Nations says that 5,000 people have fled the recent fighting in northern Iraq. And they expect another 200,000 refugees to leave Mosul in the coming weeks.