Iraqi security forces have launched an assault on a university campus seized by militants in the city of Ramadi.
This comes after al-Qaeda-linked gunmen stormed the university in Ramadi, seizing its staff and students as hostage.
The militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) broke into the university on Saturday morning after killing the guards.
Sources say it is not clear how many people are being held captive.
Security forces have cordoned off the campus and attacked it in an attempt to release the hostages.
The attack comes a day after 36 people lost their lives in heavy clashes between militants and security forces as well as twin bombings in the northern province of Nineveh.
Iraq is currently witnessing a wave of violence unprecedented in recent years.
Takfiri groups, including the ISIL, are reportedly coming to Iraq from neighboring Syria and Saudi Arabia to undermine security in the country.
Official figures show that more than 1,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed and nearly 1,400 others injured in violent attacks across Iraq in April. According to the United Nations, almost 9,000 people were killed in 2013.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said Saudi Arabia and Qatar are responsible for the security crisis and growing terrorism in his country, denouncing the Al Saud regime as a major supporter of global terrorism.
The government in Iraq has also blamed Riyadh for the chaos, saying Saudi Arabia is funding and arming militants fighting against Iraqi forces in the country’s western areas, including Anbar Province.
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