Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) – The Iraqi army said that its troops destroyed on Saturday an Islamic State tunnel linking two villages in the country’s oil-rich province of Kirkuk.
“Troops of the Iraqi intelligence and counter-terrorism directorates found a 100-meter long tunnel between Sikati and Hassan villages in Kirkuk,” Alghad Press website quoted spokesman for the Security Media Center Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool as saying in a statement.
“The troops also seized a vehicle inside the tunnel that was used to carry foodstuffs for the extremist group,” the statement read, adding that the tunnel was successfully destroyed.
In October 2017, former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared that Iraqi troops recaptured Hawija, a main town in Kirkuk province that was held by Islamic State.
The town had fallen to IS in June 2014, when the militant group seized control of much of northern and western Iraq and proclaimed the creation of a self-styled “caliphate”. There, Islamic State’s reign forced thousands to flee to refugee camps, while hundreds had been executed by the group for attempting to escape the area or contacting security forces.
The offensive on Hawija began on 21 September and has involved army, police and special forces units, as well as the Shia-led paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces. Despite the victory over IS in the city, observers say IS is believed to constitute a security threat even after the group’s defeat at its main havens across Iraqi provinces.