Fighting between government troops and al-Qaeda—inspired militants has killed 40 gunmen and an army officer near the capital, Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.

In a statement posted on the Interior Ministry’s website, spokesman Saad Maan Ibrahim said Thursday that members of security forces foiled an assault by the militants on a military base in Youssifiyah, killing 40 “terrorist attackers.”

Maan said that one army officer was killed during the clashes. Youssifiyah is about 20 km south of Baghdad

Police officials said the attack started late Wednesday and lasted a few hours.

They confirmed the military’s account and said the attackers withdrew after the arrival of security enforcements to the area.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to journalists.

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