World News

Iraqi Army expels ISIS terrorists from one of last strongholds

Iraqi Army expels ISIS terrorists from one of last strongholds

The United Nations estimated that 12,500 people had fled the town since the launch of the offensive last month.

Iraq's prime minister says its military has retaken Hawija, the main town in one of the last two enclaves of so-called Islamic State in the country. They participated in the Hawija battle, putting them in close proximity to Kurdish peshmerga forces and raising fears of clashes between the groups.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris for talks on the global fight against Islamic State group extremists and rebuilding Iraq's economy.

The office added that humanitarian agencies had set up checkpoints, camps and emergency sites ready to accommodate the thousands who could flee.

Thus, under the control of militants IG in Iraq was only one district - the area along the Western border with Syria. They said Iraqi forces were trying to reopen roads and to clear roadside bombs and booby-trapped buildings. "All that remains is the strip on the border with Syria".

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Major General Raid Shaker Jawdat, commander of Iraq's Federal Police, said, "The federal forces liberated the district of Hawija, the Hawija hospital as well as the Askari, Nidaa and Thawra neighbourhoods, and are in control of the centre of the province of Hawija in full".

The town had been an insurgent bastion since soon after the US-led invasion of 2003, earning it the nickname of "Kandahar in Iraq" for the ferocious resistance it put up similar to that in the Taliban militia's citadel in Afghanistan.

The capture of Hawija brings Iraqi forces into direct contact with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who control Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic region claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Macron said France and others are anxious about the situation of the Kurds after last month's referendum, and said France supports the stability and territorial integrity of Iraq.

Iraq and its neighbors have rejected the Kurdish region's independence referendum last month, and Baghdad has banned worldwide flights and threatened to take control of the autonomous Kurdish region's borders. "Only the outskirts remain to be recaptured".


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