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Hawija, IRAQ — United States-led coalition fighter jets launched a strategic attack on Wednesday killing at least 13 Islamic State leaders in an air raid on Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk, as operations to closer to retaking the strategic haven.

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Dijlah TV quoted a local source saying that the dead militants included seven members of the group’s so-called “treasury”.


The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said joint forces launched on Wednesday morning a new offensive targeting the center of Hawija, a major Islamic State stronghold which the militants occupied since 2014.

The decisive onslaught comes as part of a second stage of operations launched last Friday. The first phase of operations launched on September 24th, and managed to retake eastern Shirqat, an Islamic State haven in neighboring Salahuddin province, Iraqi News reports.


Also on Wednesday, Popular Mobilization Forces’ media said the troops managed Wednesday to take over the road linking central Hawija. A senior leader within the force, Jabbar al-Maamouri, had told Alsumaria News that the PMF were a about a mile from the town’s center.

A wide-scale campaign launched with the backing of a U.S.-led coalition in 2016 to recapture areas occupied by ISIS since 2014, when the militants declared a self-styled “caliphate” rule in Iraq and neighboring Syria based in Iraq’s Mosul.

Iraqi government, coalition and paramilitary forces recaptured Mosul, the group’s former capital, and the neighboring town of Tal Afar early July and late August.

AFF previously reported that more than 240 Islamic State militants were killed by Iraqi joint troops within the second phase of the special offensives launched in southwest of Kirkuk. Over 550 ISIS militants were killed in the first phase of the offensives, bringing the total to nearly 800 of these savages being killed in just 2 weeks.

A statement by Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat, Federal Police chief, said “troops along with Rapid Response forces and al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) managed to regain control on 70 square kilometers (27 square miles) in west of Hawija, liberate 23 villages and regions, kill 144 militants, destroy 45 booby-trapped vehicles and evacuate 150 displaced families during the second operation of Hawija offensive.”

Earlier on the day, Lt.Gen. Abdul Amir Yaralla, commander of Hawija Operations, announced killing of 96 militants, destroying 13 vehicles in airstrikes in Hawija, Iraqi News reported.

A statement by the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell, Yaralla said, “Iraqi jets launched several airstrikes targeting the group’s locations in Hawija.”

“The airstrikes left 96 militants and 13 vehicles destroyed,” he added.

Joint troops managed to free 11 villages in Hawija, Yaralla previously said on the day.

Early on Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and the Joint Operations Command announced beginning of the second phase of Hawija offensive.

Over 550 Islamic State militants were killed and more than 100 villages and regions have been liberated during the first phase of new aggressive offensives in southwest of Kirkuk, the military media has reported.

“Joint troops, which took part in Hawija operations, managed to accomplish the first phase and achieve all the targets, inflicting huge losses on the enemy,” the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said is a statement issued on Thursday.

“Security troops killed 557 militants, destroyed 46 booby-trapped vehicles and 24 others. 381 IEDs were defused,” according to the statement.

According to the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell, the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service liberated five villages, while Federal Police and al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) freed 63 villages. The army’s ninth armored division and PMFs managed to retake 35 villages, making the total number of regions and villages liberated reach 103, Iraqi News is reporting.

“Troops also destroyed two booby-trapped workshops and handled 18 booby-trapped houses. 21 enemy’s locations were targeted, while ten weapon stashes were destroyed,” the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell reported.

The Joint Operations Command announced completing the first phase of operations to recapture Hawija, the group’s holdout in southwestern Kirkuk.

Launched last week, the operation managed to take over al-Zab river region, the northern part of Makhoul mountains and several villages west of Tigris River.

Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said previously that the number of Islamic State members in Hawija falls between 800 and 1500.

This is great news.

Let’s hope phase 2 of this operation goes as well or better than phase 1 did!

We will eradicate these evil savages, no matter what it takes.

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