by Staff Writers
Al-Sagra, Iraq (AFP) Sept 19, 2017
Iraqi security forces and paramilitary units on Tuesday seized a village in one of the last pockets of territory controlled by the Islamic State group in the vast western province of Anbar, bordering Syria.
"Our forces have taken the whole of Al-Rayhanna village, attacking from three directions, and have killed seven terrorists," an Iraqi colonel told AFP.
Some IS fighters had fled towards the town of Anna, "eight kilometres (five miles) to the west, which is our next objective", he said.
The Joint Operations Command coordinating the fight against IS in Iraq said infantry and armoured units backed by the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary alliance launched the assault at dawn to retake Al-Rayhanna and the nearby town of Anna.
The operation was supported by Iraqi army helicopters and warplanes from the US-led coalition battling IS in Iraq and Syria, a general in the area said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The head of Anna's municipal council, Abdel Karim al-Ani, confirmed Iraqi forces had taken control of Al-Rayhanna and raised the Iraqi flag on public buildings.
The colonel said coalition aircraft had destroyed a suicide car bomb driven by a jihadist who was trying to reach security forces to detonate the vehicle.
Anna, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of the border with Syria, is one of three towns in Anbar province still under IS control.
After retaking the town, Iraqi forces are expected to target Rawa to the northwest and finally Al-Qaim, which is close to the border with the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor.
Three years after IS took control of large parts of Syria and Iraq, Iraqi forces are pushing to retake all areas seized by the jihadists, scoring their biggest victory in July with the recapture of second city Mosul.
Iraq is preparing to launch an assault against another of the jihadists' remaining strongholds, the town of Hawija about 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of Baghdad.
IS is also under pressure in Syria, where a US-backed alliance of Kurds and Arabs is battling to retake the jihadists' de facto capital Raqa and Russian-backed regime forces are fighting for control of the city of Deir Ezzor.
Three dead in Iraq restaurant attack claimed by IS
In a statement late Tuesday, IS claimed responsibility for the attack in the northern town of Hajaj, in Salaheddin province between the cities of Tikrit and Baiji.
The jihadist group gave a higher toll of 30 federal police killed and 45 wounded.
Interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan said earlier that "two attackers detonated their explosive belts in a restaurant in Hajaj, killing three people and wounding 34."
"A third assailant was shot dead by the security forces," Maan said in a statement.
IS said one of the two attackers was killed in enemy fire, while the other detonated his explosives belt.
A police lieutenant colonel said the restaurant was frequented by members of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation), a paramilitary force mainly composed of Iran-trained militias which has played a major role in the fight against IS.
The twin bombings came just five days after a gun and bomb attack on a restaurant and nearby checkpoint in the southern city of Nasiriyah killed 84 people.
That was the deadliest attack claimed by the jihadists since their defeat in second city Mosul in July.
Al-Sagra, Iraq (AFP) Sept 19, 2017
Iraqi security forces and paramilitary units launched a dawn assault Tuesday against one of the Islamic State group's last bastions in the vast western province of Anbar bordering Syria. The Joint Operations Command, which is coordinating Iraqi security forces battling IS, said an offensive had begun to retake the town of Anna and the nearby village of Al-Rayhanna. "Infantry units and ar ... read more
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|