Airstrikes by Iraqi jets kill fifteen Islamic State militants in Hawija, Tal Afar

Iraqi F-16 fighter jets. File photo.

( Fifteen Islamic State militants were killed on Wednesday in airstrikes by the Iraqi jets that targeted IS locations in Hawija and Tal Afar, the War Media Cell said.

In a statement, the Defense Ministry’s WMC said “Iraqi fighter jets launched several airstrikes that completely destroyed a booby-trapping workshop and missiles and killed three militants specialized in developing missiles in al-Abbassi district, in Hawija.”

Hawija, located 55 KM west of Kirkuk, has been held by IS since mid-2014.

IS still holds three towns in western Anbar close to the borders with Syria, in addition to a few areas in Salahuddin, Diyala and Kirkuk. The Iraqi government is expected to aim at those strongholds once the Mosul battle is concluded.

Dozens of residents from Hawija and the regions in its vicinity escape to Kirkuk province on a daily basis. Despite the risky routes to the freed regions, the civilians prefer death to staying under IS control.

Meanwhile, other airstrikes in al-Mahalabiya, Tal Afar town, destroyed two booby-trapped vehicles and weapons. An IS location was destroyed, “12 militants were killed, huge amounts of weapons and explosives were destroyed.”

Last week, the WMC announced liberation of five villages in Mahalabiya, a region which Iraqi forces and paramilitary troops had previously isolated from Mosul.

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