Iraqi army repels militants' attack on city near capital

Baghdad, Jun 17 (EFE).- The Iraqi army on Tuesday repelled an attack by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, fighters on Baquba, a city located just 60 kilometers (37 miles) northeast of Baghdad, state media reported.

The operations command in Diyala province confirmed that army troops stopped the insurgents' attack in three districts in Baquba, the provincial capital, Al Iraquiya television reported.

ISIS fighters attacked the police station in Al Mafraq, a neighborhood on the west side of Baquba, and killed 52 prisoners.

The "terrorists used mortars and grenades in their attack in an attempt to free the prisoners," armed forces spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta told Al Iraquiya.

The mortar rounds and grenades, however, landed in the area where the prisoners were being kept, killing all of them, the military spokesman said.

Nine militants and two police officers died in the fighting that followed, officials said, adding that six officers were wounded.

Iraqi officials contend that ISIS is solely responsible for the offensive in the northern part of the country, but other Sunni groups opposed to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki are backing the jihadist movement.

Nearly 20 insurgents died in the fierce fighting around Baquba, officials said.

The rebels are holding Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city and the capital of Nineveh province, and trying to advance on Baghdad.