Annah (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi army troops and paramilitary forces managed on Tuesday to recapture the first area as part of an operation targeting Islamic State-held towns in western Anbar, a local official said.
Abdul-Karim al-Aani, chairman of Annah town’s council, told Alsumaria News that army and police troops, backed by Popular Mobilization Forces, took over Rayhana region, east of Annah, and raised Iraqi flags above its buildings.
He said a number of Islamic State militants were killed, while a booby-trapped vehicle belonging to them was detonated.
Earlier on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the launch of an operation to clear Islamic State havens in western Anbar, starting with the town of Annah. He promised “a new victory”, adding that IS “will not reap but a humiliating defeat and death”.
Iraqi joint troops managed earlier this week to liberate Akashat region, between Rutba town, on borders with Jordan, and Qaim, on borders with Syria.
Anbar’s western towns of Annah, Qaim and Rawa are still 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.
Fighter jets from the Iraqi army and the international coalition regularly pound IS locations in the province.