Shirqat (IraqiNews.com) Security operations seeking to clear Islamic State havens in Salahuddin have so far left 225 militants dead since Wednesday, Federal Police said Saturday.
Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat said in a statement that Federal Police and backing forces have recaptured 480 sq kilometers of the province’s IS-held town of Shirqat, adding that 41 villages were recaptured.
Twenty-four booby-trapped vehicles, 15 weaponized trucks and 56 IEDs were also destroyed in the operations, according to Jawdat. Ninety families were evacuated during the battle, he said.
That came as forces have concluded the second phase of operations for Shirqat, he stated, explaining that a third concluding phase will target areas southeast of the town.
The Iraqi government declared last week the launch of simultaneous operations to retake Islamic State strongholds in Kirkuk’s Hawija and Salahuddin’s Shirqat where a few thousands of militants are believed to remain.
Islamic State militants emerged in 2014, taking over large areas of Iraq and neighboring Syria to proclaim a self-styled “caliphate”.
Operations by the Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary forces, have, so far, managed to retake the group’s former capital, Mosul, as well as the town of Tal Afar, both in Nineveh province.
Coinciding with the offensives in Shirqat and Hawija, security forces have also launched a campaign to liberate Islamic State’s havens in western Anbar’s towns of Annah, Rawa and Qaim.