Hawija (IraqiNews.com) Blasts were heard Sunday at Islamic State offices in Kirkuk as the province anticipates military operations to retake areas held by the extremist group since 2014.
A local source told Alsumaria News that violent explosions were heard at three Islamic State headquarters in central Hawija (55 km southwest of Kirkuk) following strikes by warplanes from the United States-led coalition.
“One of the targeted locations was used by the group as a secret meeting room, and had been under tight security,” said the source.
A week ago, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said operations would launch sooner to recapture Hawija. The announcement came shortly after the JOC said it totally took over Tal Afar, the Islamic State’s last stronghold in Nineveh province. Earlier in July, Iraqi troops, backed by a United States-led coalition, recaptured Mosul, Islamic State’s former capital, after more than eight months of battles.
The United Nations predicts 85.000 civilians to flee Hawija as anticipated military operations launch to liberate the province from IS. The group has regularly executed civilians there for attempting to flee the enclave and for acting as informants for security forces.
IS is still holding other havens in Anbar and Salahuddin which will be the next targets for military action.