More than 40 IS militants killed, as second phase of Hawija offensive starts

Members of Iraqi Federal Police carry their weapon at the frontline during a battle with Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Baghdad ( Twenty five Islamic State militants have been killed, few hours after offensives were launched to free the group’s holdout in southwestern Kirkuk, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

Col. Abdul Amir al-Mohamadawi, head of the media service of the Interior Ministry’s Rapid Response forces, said, “ troops headed early on the day from al-Abbassi, northwest of Hawija, backed by army jets, to liberate regions under there.”

“Troops managed to kill twenty five militants at the outskirts of Abbassi, few hours after launch of the offensive,” Mohamadawi told Alghad Press. “Troops crossed al-Abbassiya river and are currently stationed at the outskirts of the city.”

Mohamadawi expected wide areas in Abbassi to be freed within the coming few hours.

Meanwhile, Federal Police managed to kill 17 others and liberate four villages in Hawija.

“Troops liberated al-Shajara, Hammoud al-Khalaf, al-Ablat and al-Mistah, in west of Hawija,” Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat, chief of Federal Police, said in a statement on Friday.

“Troops killed 17 IS militants and raised the Iraqi flag above four villages in there,” he added.

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

On Sunday, the Joint Operations Command announced completing the first phase of operations to recapture Hawija, which launched on September 21.

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.

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