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IRAQ WARS
Iraq forces claim recapture of IS-held areas near Hawija
by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) Oct 2, 2017


Iraqi forces on Monday seized a strategic jihadist-held area southeast of the Islamic State group's bastion of Hawija, a senior commander said.

Government forces and the Hashed al-Shaabi, an alliance mostly of Shiite militias, are fighting to retake the northern town of Hawija after expelling IS from large parts of the territory they seized in Iraq in 2014.

"The Counter-Terrorism Service and Hashed al-Shaabi captured Rashad and 45 villages and hamlets around as part of the second phase to liberate Hawija," Lieutenant General Abdel Amir Yarallah said in a statement.

The Hashed al-Shaabi said it had retaken five villages west of Rashad, which is 35 kilometres (20 miles) southeast of Hawija.

Iraqi forces backed by a US-led coalition launched an offensive on September 21 to retake a jihadist enclave around Hawija, swiftly taking the town of Sharqat on its second day before pushing on towards Hawija itself.

On Friday, they started the battle to retake the town itself, one of the last IS bastions in the country along with a stretch of the Euphrates Valley near the border with Syria.

As Iraqi forces pushed the offensive against IS, retreating jihadists set light to three wells in the Allas oilfield some 85 kilometres to the south of Kirkuk, the Kurdish-controlled North Oil Company and local officials said.

A Hawija region police colonel said that security forces were using bulldozers in an attempt to extinguish the fires started Saturday in a bid to block the advance by government forces.

IRAQ WARS
Iraq forces attack IS-held town of Hawija
Baghdad (AFP) Sept 29, 2017
Iraqi forces Friday launched an assault on the northern town of Hawija, one of the last bastions in the country still held by the Islamic State group, which is also under attack in neighbouring Syria. The operation came a day after IS released what it said was an audio recording of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi urging resistance, the first such intervention in nearly a year. "The leade ... read more

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