Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Over fifty Islamic State militants were killed in airstrikes by the international coalition targeting the group’s havens in Kirkuk and Anbar, the military media reported.
“The U.S.-led coalition jets carried out 53 air raids, 46 of them in Hawija, leaving 48 militants killed, headquarters and four weapon stashes destroyed,” the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said in a statement on Sunday. “The shelling also left an explosives workshop and six booby-trapped vehicles.”
“The jets carried out airstrikes in Rawa, western Anbar, leaving five militants killed and a headquarter destroyed,” it added.
On Thursday, Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said the number of Islamic State members in Hawija falls between 800 and 1500. On the same day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and the Joint Operations Command announced launch of first phase of operations to liberate Hawija and eastern Shirqat.
Hawija and other neighboring regions, west of Kirkuk, have been held by IS since mid-2014, when the group emerged to proclaim an Islamic “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.
Anbar’s western towns of Annah, Qaim and Rawa have been held by the extremist group since 2014, when it occupied one third of Iraq to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “Caliphate”. Iraqi troops were able to return life back to normal in the biggest cities of Anbar including Fallujah, Ramadi and others after recapturing them in 2015 and 2016.