Kirkuk (Iraqinews.com) – About 20 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed in clashes with Iraqi forces in Hawija district in Kirkuk, a security source was quoted as saying Sunday.
In statements to Shafaq News website, the source said, “Iraqi forces, backed by the al-Hashd al-Shaabi fighters, clashed with IS militants at al-Saadiya village in Hawija.”
“The clashes left 20 IS militants killed, while 15 others are still trapped inside the village,” the source added.
Also, several fighters of al-Hashd al-Shaabi were killed in the confrontation, but the source declined to give an exact number.
In October, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that Iraqi troops recaptured Hawija, a main town held by Islamic State in the country.
The town had fallen to IS in June 2014, when the militant group seized control of much of northern and western Iraq and proclaimed the creation of a self-styled “caliphate”. There, Islamic State’s reign forced thousands to flee to refugee camps, while hundreds had been executed by the group for attempting to escape the area or contacting security forces.
The offensive on Hawija began on 21 September and involved army, police and special forces units, as well as Shia-led paramilitary forces. Despite the victory over IS in the city, observers say IS is believed to constitute a security threat even after the group’s defeat at its main havens across Iraqi provinces.