Anbar (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi forces are clearing the road to a second Islamic State haven in western Anbar preparing for a military offensive to recapture it, a local official was quoted saying.
Rageh al-Eissawi, a member of Anbar province council’s security commission, said in a statement that security forces launched wide-scale combing operations at roads leading to the town of Rawa preparing for an invasion against Islamic State militants.
He said the operations coincided with intensive air raids on the area by Iraqi warplanes.
Bomb squads are also clearing roadside bombs planted by the militants at those areas, Eissawi added.
Iraqi army forces on Thursday completely took over the town of Annah, just two days after operations launched to free western Anbar from IS.
Anbar’s western towns of Annah, Qaim and Rawa had 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.
Iraqi government and paramilitary forces are currently in parallel operations to retake Kirkuk’s Hawija from the militants. They recently recaptured Salahuddin’s town of Shirqat as part of the offensive.