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Turkish military says 56 Islamic State militants killed in Syria

ANKARA (Reuters) - Fifty-six Islamic State militants were killed by Turkey-backed forces around the Syrian town of al-Bab and by U.S.-led coalition air strikes in the latest operations on Wednesday, the Turkish military said on Thursday.

Turkish artillery fire also hit 104 Islamic State targets, including buildings and bombed vehicles, the army said in a statement, reiterating it had largely established control in the residential areas of al-Bab.

The Islamic State stronghold, 30 km (20 miles) from the Turkish border, has been a prime target since Turkey launched an incursion with Syrian rebels last August to push the jihadists from its frontier and prevent gains by a Kurdish militia.

Turkey's army said 11 of the jihadists were killed in air strikes by coalition forces, while the rest were killed in artillery fire and clashes during operations in al-Bab.

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(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by David Dolan)