Salahuddin (IraqiNews.com) Fifteen Islamic State militants were killed by the pro-government paramilitary troops in Salahuddin province, a source said on Saturday.
Speaking to Alghad Press, a source from al-Hashd al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilization Forces] said “we received information about the IS in villages of Tuz Khurmatu before brigades of Turkmen fighters, as well as other factions, headed to besiege the militants in Barwajli.”
“Confrontations with fifteen militants left them all killed,” the source said, adding that two personnel were also killed.
The village is considered one of the militant group’s strongholds, along with Yanikja village in Tuz Khurmatu and Amerli axis.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and the Joint Operations Command declared in September the launch of first phase of operations to liberate Hawija and eastern Shirqat, located north of Salahuddin.
The Iraqi army said in September 2016 its forces recaptured the western coast of Shirqat, located south of Mosul, on the west bank of the Tigris river, after being surrounded for months by Iraqi troops and the pro-government Shi’ite militias.
Having recaptured Hawija in Kirkuk, Mosul and Tal Afar in Nineveh and Annah town in Anbar, Iraqi troops still have only western Anbar’s towns of Rawa and Qaim remain under the militant’s control.
On Thursday, a military operation was launched to liberate Qaim and Rawa towns. Both towns have been held by the extremist group since 2014, when it occupied one third of Iraq to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “Caliphate”.