Iraqi troops backed by helicopter gunships fought yesterday to retake full control of a northern town from militants who overran parts of it earlier this week, local officials said.

Talib Mohammed, the mayor of Sulaiman Pek, 100 miles north of Baghdad, said the army had met fierce resistance in parts of the town, after gaining some ground on Friday.

Militants raised the black flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - a Sunni group fighting in neighbouring Syria - over parts of Sulaiman Pek on Thursday. An army captain in Sulaiman Pek said snipers were hindering bomb disposal teams.

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