Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) The pro-government paramilitary troops have arrested more than fifty Islamic State members in southwest of Kirkuk, during liberation offensives there.
In a statement, the media service of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), said, “the eleventh brigade combed Hawija and areas in its vicinity and arrested 56 terrorists. Their families were deported to refugee camps.”
“1,228 square kilometers were combed, while 136 villages and three valleys were inspected. 56 Islamic State members were arrested, while their families were displaced, in accordance with a strategic plan drawn by al-Hashd al-Shaabi troops and intelligence,” the statement said. “Tens of explosives planted by the militants were removed.”
In December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.
Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, have been fighting since October 2016 to retake territories Islamic State had occupied. Since then, forces took back the group’s former capital, Mosul, the town of Tal Afar, Kirkuk’s Hawija, and Anbar’s Annah, Rawa and Qaim.
The war against IS has so far displaced at least five million people. Thousands of others fled toward neighboring countries including Syria, Turkey and other European countries, since IS emerged to proclaim its self-styled “caliphate”.