Reuters International

A plume of smoke rises above a building during an air strike in Tikrit March 27, 2015. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and its allies staged 17 strikes against Islamic State on Tuesday in their latest daily attacks against the militant group in Iraq and Syria, according to the coalition leading the operations.

Fifteen strikes near eight Iraqi cities included three close to Falluja, where Iraqi forces this week have launched an assault to retake the city from the militants. The Falluja strikes hit an Islamic State tactical unit, vehicle and front end loader, the coalition task force said in a statement on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Iraq, the Combined Joint Task Force said the U.S.-led strikes included three near Mosul, another area where U.S. and Iraqi officials are seeking to put in place conditions to retake that city. Altogether, the strikes in Iraq hit six units of fighters and struck or suppressed six mortar positions or systems, the statement said.

In Syria, two strikes near Ayn Isa and Mar’a hit one of the militant group's fighting positions, a vehicle and mortar system, according to the task force.

(Reporting by Washington newsroom Editing by W Simon)

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